Design Consequences: taking responsibility for our ideas

Design Consequences: taking responsibility for our ideas
Sep 23, 2021

Design Consequences: taking responsibility for our ideas

“You can’t assume that architecture is one day going to just shift in its politics. It happens in the classroom.”   Malcolm John Rio 

Format: The symposium Design Consequences will encompass two parts, each presenting a series of lectures and a roundtablewhere the speakers discuss a pedagogy-related question. All speakers will present their talks virtually and talks will be recorded. An accompanying exhibition will showcase Stuckeman School work, while “meet and greet” events will allow participants to mingle and discuss.


  • Rock Ethics Institute, Penn State University 
  • The Research and Creative Activity Grant Program in Racial Justice, Anti-Discrimination, and Democratic Practices from the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture 
  • The Stuckeman Center for Design Computing 
  • Hamer Center, Penn State University 
  • Ecology + Design Center, Penn State University 

Contact: Alexandra Staub, 

Lectures / Roundtable 1: Designing Ethically 

Professional architectural training rarely takes into account racism and social equity, yet the built environment serves as a tool of both. Designers’ reputations revolve around creating novel solutions to problems, with less attention paid to understanding the extended consequences of those solutions. In addition, the United States is defined through a capitalism-driven economy where consumption, rates-on return, and market advantages drive innovation, often to the detriment of social justice concerns. A series of speakers will talk about their approach to better incorporating ethics into design.  


Roundtable topic: How can curricula in higher education help students learn to design more ethically? How can students transitioning into the workplace continue the quest for more ethical design outcomes? 

 Lectures / Roundtable 2: The Consequences of Technology 

Technology advances quickly, with little oversight. In countries like the United States, technological advances are largely market driven. Although social consequences often become apparent after the fact, we largely lack the tools to understand potential consequences of our designs. A series of speakers will talk about how to better understand and predict consequences and their approach to integrating ethics in the field of technology and design. 


Roundtable topic: How can curricula in higher education help designers and users of technology better understand the consequences of their designs?