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Victor Papanek

victor papanek urae

Victor Papanek is considered one of the forefathers of sustainable and human-centered design. Born in 1927 in Vienna, Austria, he studied design and architecture in the United States, working under the tutelage of Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1940s. He attended Cooper Union in New York and MIT in Boston. His seminal book, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (1971), championed design that attended to human needs and environmental conditions before aesthetics—a philosophy that drove his career and was woven through a number of subsequent books. Papanek taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Ontario College of Art, California Institute of the Arts, and a number of other schools. He worked with global institutions such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization to develop products that served educational and humanitarian purposes. His last book, The Green Imperative: Natural Design for the Real World, was published in 1995, four years before his death in 1999.

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