The 2015 session of MADE—the Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange—has recently been completed and presented to the public. Established in 2013 by the Sydney Opera House, the MADE Program is an extracurricular experience for Australian and Danish students of architecture, engineering, and design.
Teams of five students are exchanged between Australia and Denmark and work in multidisciplinary teams of two architects, two engineers, and one designer for six weeks on a collaborative project aligned with Jørn Utzon’s Design Principles.
There is a dichotomy to the business of educating architects. While the real world profession is a collaborative field, one in which projects of even the largest and most publicly-acclaimed offices are team-led initiatives, the study of architecture is often insular, myopic, and devoid of such partnerships. Certainly there is a benefit to this style of teaching - it builds confidence for one thing - but it is troubling to think that in a socially-oriented and practically-minded field like architecture, there can be such major disconnects between the process of designing and the act of building. As many critics of current architectural education have pointed out, incorporating design-build projects into school curriculums is a pragmatic solution oriented towards correcting such imbalances.
The fact that more schools don't have programs for students to both design and build their projects is especially perplexing when most universities, particularly those located in the United States, are in such a prolonged period of institutional and budgetary expansion. With many schools now governed like corporate entities, it’s surprising that architecture programs and students are not treated like in-house resources. Why aren’t architecture students treated like assets, the same way that student doctors and nurses are brought into university led medical facilities or scientists into campus research labs?
Architecture is a subject that takes decades to master. Just look at the field’s consensus masters - it is not uncommon for an architect to work through his or her fifties before receiving widespread acclaim. So it should come as no surprise that architecture schools simply don’t have the time to teach students all there is to know about architecture. School is the place where future architects are given a foundation of skills, knowledge and design sensibility that they can carry with them into their careers - but what exactly that foundation should contain is still a hot debate within the field.
Last year Kevin J Singh, an Associate Professor of Architecture in the School of Design at Louisiana Tech University, adapted one of his lectures giving advice to students as they embark upon a new career into an article. That article, titled "21 Rules for a Successful Life in Architecture" and published on ArchDaily in September 2014, was a runaway success, becoming our second most-read post of 2014 and among our most visited articles of all time.
As a result of his article's success, this year Singh has taken his 21 rules as a framework for a new ebook, "Beginning Your Career in Architecture: Candid Advice for Emerging Professionals." The ebook not only elaborates on the 21 rules from the original article, but also offers questions to the reader that lead to actionable goals, giving them the nudge they need to start out on the right track. In the following excerpts from the book, Singh addresses voicing your opinions, finding - or rather creating - the role that suits your skills, and making the world a better place.
In the early days of the architectural profession, teaching and practice were neatly aligned: the elements of the various styles could be taught and put into practice in the field. However in the 20th century, while the business of construction was becoming increasingly technocratic, architectural theory became equally pluralistic and esoteric. Ever since, the dichotomy between architectural education and practice has been a controversial subject. Many in the business say that education fails to prepare students for the real world, while some academics equally contend that architecture schools have given up too much ground to technical considerations, and no longer teach enough important theory.
In the 21st century, that dichotomy is increasingly being bridged by the internet, offering a convenient alternative to universities and practices where architects can teach themselves. With that in mind, we wanted to open a discussion up to our readers: what are the things you wish you learned in school but never had the chance? Was there an element of history and theory that is vital to your understanding of architecture that you only learned after graduation? Or perhaps a technical consideration that you had to learn the hard way?
Martha Thorne has been appointed as dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid. Thorne, who is currently IE's vice dean, has had a major impact on the profession by serving as the executive director of the Pritzker Prize for nearly a decade. As BDOnline reports, Thorne will retain her Pritzker role as she furthers "the school's aim to bring the best of innovation and management to architectural disciplines.”
Architecture school. You’ve heard the myths - the legends of all-nighters and innovation, of unmatched workaholism and love for the profession. Perhaps you know what you want – to solve the great urbanization problem, to create the next sustainable wonder-gadget, or maybe just to start your own firm and show the architectural world how it’s done. Maybe you have no idea what you want to do, drawn to architecture by the romance, the larger-than-life scale. Maybe you’re an artist who wants a job when they graduate. A hometown hero, you’re about to be thrown into a classroom of the best, possibly for the first time in your life. You’ll be surrounded by the brightest in engineering, problem solving, writing, drawing and a host of other skills. Anxious and excited, you stand ready at the doors of architectural education, hungry for innovation and ready to share and learn from others. Stepping inside that first day, you prepare yourself for the best - and most difficult times of your life so far.
To prepare you for the strange beast that is architecture school, shed light on what is fact and fiction, and give you some peace of mind, we at ArchDaily have prepared a list of advice for all incoming architecture students. There is no other education in the world quite like an architectural one, and we hope that this list can help prepare you for its unique wonders and challenges. The advice below is meant to ease the transition into school as much as possible – but be warned, nothing can compare to experiencing the real deal. Read them all after the break.
The International Architectural Education Summit (IAES) will take place during September 9-11, 2015. The 4th IAES summit will take place at The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Centre in Singapore. The registration for this upcoming event is now open.
Established in 2009 by UCLA Architecture and Urban Design,Los Angeles, and in 2011 joined by IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid, the Summit is a biennial conference dedicated to foster a constructive dialogue between leading academics, practitioners, policy makers and industry representatives with ideas to make architectural education more relevant against a backdrop of globalization, changing technology and pressing societal issues. The inaugural Summit was held in Tokyo in 2009 and the second and third editions took place in 2011 and 2013 in Madrid and Berlin. The fourth iteration is collaboratively conceptualized with the Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore, the National University of Singapore and Singapore University of Technology and Design. It will explore the topic of “Emerging Networks in Architectural Education” from many diverse perspectives, and we are confident will form a bridge between East and West.
Almost two months ago we put a request out to all of our readers who were completing the academic year to send us any built work that they may have completed as part of their studies. Our hope was to display the fantastic diversity of ideas and styles that is emerging from institutions across the globe, and the response that we got was fantastic. With almost 100 submissions, we received projects from countries as far afield as Chile, the United States, Norway and Japan. We also received everything from pragmatic projects such as a chapel for a disadvantaged community in Mexico or a low-budget sidewalk parklet, to wondrously bizarre constructions such as a steel worm that connects spaces through sound and an inhabitable haystack.
With the help of our colleagues at ArchDaily Brasil andallofArchDailyen Español, we've compiled a selection of 26 of the most interesting, elegant or unusual projects from around the world - join us after the break to see what your international peers have been up to.
We have been publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. In Chapter 14, the final chapter of the online version of the book, Salingaros concludes by recounting the effect that the teachings included in his book had on students in a class he taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, during the Fall Semester of 2012. If you missed them, make sure to read the previous installments here.
At the conclusion of this course, the students told me that they had learned a great many things that are crucial to an understanding of architecture, but which are hardly ever taught in other architecture courses. To be precise, students had previously been told about the importance of various factors to the success of a design—site, surrounding architecture, regional adaptation, ornament (or rather excluding it), the relationship among distinct structural scales, proportions, trees and green areas—but were never taught exactly how to manage them. Now, those factors were taken into account by learning why they arise out of our own biology and natural processes.
It's graduation time. As universities around the globe - or at least most in the Northern hemisphere, where over 80% of the world's universities are located - come to the end of the academic year, many university architecture studios have recently closed out the construction of pavilions, installations and other small educational projects. At ArchDaily, we've already received a number of submissions from students and professors who would like to see their studio's work reach a larger audience, such as the example above from Cornell University's "A Journey Into Plastics" seminar, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's studio project completed with the assistance of Marcus Prizewinner Sou Fujimoto (more on that project here). But we're interested in doing something more.
The napkin sketch has always had its place in architecture. Now, some of the world's more respected architects have donated their very own conceptual doodles to the NewSchool and San Diego American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in an effort that helped raise thousands to fund scholarships and programs for architecture students.
"The event was a big success,” said David Garcia, a NewSchool architecture undergraduate and fundraising chair for the AIAS event. “Personally, this project means a lot to me, and not just because of the time and involvement, but because this is a nice way to bring students and their favorite architects together, even if it's just through a sketch. Plus, since it's a fundraiser, the proceeds have been a great help to the success of the chapter.”
The AIAS has launched Studio Culture: reviewed, a supplemental survey to their campaign investigating the learning environments of architecture studios. Following the accidental deaths of several students due to sleep deprivation in 2000, the organization dedicated its resources to studying the unhealthy lifestyles associated with studios. Their work culminated in a 2002 report endorsing change that was adopted by the NAAB. Studio Culture: reviewed poses questions related to students’ welfare while enrolled in architecture programs. The results will contribute to an ongoing assessment of realized improvements since the initial study. Open now through May 25, 2015, the survey welcomes current architecture students and recent alumni (within a year of graduation), and can be accessed here.
In a recent article in which ArchDaily reached out to our readers for comments about all-nighter culture, one comment that seemed to strike a chord with many people was kopmis' assertion that, thanks to the tendency for professors to "rip apart" projects in a final review, "there is no field of study that offers so much humiliation as architecture." But what causes this tendency? In this article, originally published by Section Cut as "The Final Review: Negaters Gonna Negate," Mark Stanley - an Adjunct Professor at Woodbury University School of Architecture - discusses the challenges facing the reviewers themselves, offering an explanation of why they often lapse into such negative tactics - and how they can avoid them.
Hailed as one of "50 Great Teachers" by NPR, ivy-league architecture professor Diana Agrest's out-of-the-box teaching methods have brought her to the forefront of studio academia. A testament to her instruction, her students have gone on to attain some of the most prestigious awards for creative pursuits, including the Pritzker Prize and the MacArthur "genius grant." With her belief that architects' work should be informed by multiple disciplines, Agrest has developed a teaching style to push the boundaries of traditional studio culture and challenge her students to explore the built environment through various lenses, particularly film. Read NPR's full article on Agrest, here.
In the debate about how architects - both present and future - represent our ideas, it is easy to find a lot of articles supporting both sides. One can read as many arguments as they want and find valid points supporting both hand-drawing and computer production. One could argue that there is nothing prettier than a well done hand-rendering of a project. Another could say that, although hand-drawing is something that catches the eye, it is not practical at all, takes longer than doing it on the computer and does not allow architects to easily modify it.
There is however another facet that does not come up as frequently as it maybe should: how does this discussion affect students? I believe we lie in a cross-fire, between the idea of what architects do and what they actually do.