Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The gifts of Prometheus. Profiling architectural education in a fast-changing world

Constantin Spiridonidis, Maria Voyatzaki


The reconsideration of architectural education in light of a new reality emerging from the fast changes occurring in our social, cultural and physical environments is now imperative. In order to divulge the incompatibilities of the existing educational structures with the current dynamics of change, three main aspect of our contemporary architectural education are examined: the system of studies, the contents of studies and the architectural design pedagogy implemented by Schools of Architecture.Concerning the system of studies, amongst other issues we speculate on the limited agility of the system to host innovations, its dominant conceptions about the teacher’s profile, its unclear way to define the profile of the graduate and the obscure relationship between architectural academia and professional practice. As to the content of studies amongst other issues we speculate on the impoverishment of humanities in architectural studies that caused a passive technicality which, fascinated by the digital tools, sterilizes architecture from its cultural and human values and meanings.Further observations concern current pedagogy and its reservations on the fear for mistake-making and risk-taking, on the methodological rigidity of design education founded on what is wrong and on not what could be done on a speculative basis, on the attitude to (over)simplify complexity, on the passive inclination and docility towards certainties, on the resistance to change, revisit or renew teaching practices.The paper concludes by presenting the basic lines of the priorities architectural education has to consider in order to be able to critically follow the new paradigm emerging from and imposed by the new philosophical understandings of our world and the consideration of the new normal that is ascribed to them as a new ethical statement that profoundly affects architectural contemplation and practice.

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