AIA Committee On Design And Lifelong Learning by Steven Ehrlich, FAIA


An article in Connection Magazine’s Edification issue published in December, 2016 highlighted thoughts from a selection of active COD members on the relationship between COD and life-long learning. The magazine’s space limitations wouldn’t allow for the full text of each contributor so we’re presenting them here in their totality.

In architecture school, one of my professors advised me to “open your eyes and plagiarize.”  Years after graduating I discovered the full meaning of what he meant.  Living and working for 6 years in North and West Africa, I learned so much from indigenous builders who exist in sustainable harmony with the land, usually with minimal resources.  Their building practices and forms reflect the particularities of culture and environment in a meaningful way.

This experience profoundly shaped my approach to my own architectural practice and also made me an avid lifelong traveler.  I believe that when you are an open-minded observer, you find wisdom and inspiration all around you in the built environment, often in unexpected places.

I have been on multiple COD trips both in the U.S. and abroad. They are well-curated journeys that will expose you to the best architecture in that city and/or country. It will certainly open your eyes and inspire you.

The COD article appears on pages 28-31.



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