Skip to main content?

70 | Demanding More from Design Education

Architect and educator Peggy Deamer advocates for restructuring the architectural education system and profession. Deamer is the founding member of The Architecture Lobby, a group dedicated to asserting “the value of architecture and design in our communities, as well as workers’ rights within the field of architecture.” Deamer received a B.A. in architecture from Cooper Union and a Ph.D. in architecture history, criticism and theory from Princeton University and currently serves as a Professor of Architecture at Yale University. David Langdon, her student, has a professional background in architectural design and journalism.

70 | Demanding More from Design Education

The Architecture Lobby is a national, chapter-based network composed of students, teachers, researchers, journalists, and anyone else interested in challenging the limits of the architectural profession and broadening the definition of design. These chapters examine issues that arise when architects don’t consider themselves as workers, and ways to improve professional environments. The Lobby also recognizes firms which treat their employees above the standard accepted by the Lobby’s manifesto.

The manifesto states a list of ten demands that work towards implementing a new vision of the architectural profession:

  1. Enforce labor laws that prohibit unpaid internships, unpaid overtime; refuse unpaid competitions.
  2. Reject fees based on percentage of construction or hourly fees and instead calculate value based on the money we save our clients, or gain them.
  3. Stop peddling a product — buildings — and focus on the unique value architects help realize through spatial services.
  4. Enforce wage transparency across the discipline.
  5. Establish a union for architects, designers, academics and interns in architecture and design.
  6. Demystify the architect as solo creative genius; no honors for architects who don’t acknowledge their staff.
  7. Licensure upon completion of degree.
  8. Change professional architecture organizations to advocate for the living conditions of architects.
  9. Support research about professional labor rights in architecture.
  10. Implement democratic alternatives to the free market system of development.

The Architecture Lobby advocates for the restructuring the architectural educational system- which often involves high-stress studios and negative competition between both students and faculty. Deamer believes that this plays a large role in the devaluing of the architectural profession. The Architecture Lobby encourages everyone, from young designers to experienced professionals, to abandon exploitative design cultures.

Join hosts Eric Cesal and Karen Kubey as we speak with Peggy Deamer and David Langdon about how to assert architecture’s relevance in healthy and productive ways.

And don’t forget to check out our guests’ recommendations!


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music is "My Old School" by Steely Dan from their album "Countdown to Ecstasy."