Cats, Octopuses, and Barnacles: a Conversation on Architectural Competency

Eunice Seng in conversation with Sarah Whiting and Ho Puay Peng. October 4, 2021


  • Eunice Seng University of Hong Kong



Within two months of declaring the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 30, 2020, articles on architectural and urban design practice and education, planning, building construction, technology, and sustainability, speculated on how the pandemic could change the built environment. By summer 2020, “post-pandemic” was the most frequently used descriptor in architectural events and publications. As Covid-19 raged on the pandemic made the inequalities and injustices in different places, including campuses, workplaces, and homes, ever more glaring. For architectural students, the pandemic has meant canceling studio travel, field trips, the end of access to libraries and fabrication labs, presenting in reviews via video, and no commencement celebrations. How do we meaningfully discuss competency in a world overturned by a pandemic and systemic exclusion? In conversation with Seng, Whiting and Ho deliberate on the challenges and changing expectations on competency in architectural education and practice amid the latency of the historical moment.

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