Posts tagged with "Architectural Education":
Milton S. F. Curry, associate dean at Taubman College, on race, class, public education, and the future of architecture
- SCI-Arc EDGE, Architectural Technologies (Master of Science in Architectural Technologies), a program that aims to establish a new technological discourse for architecture, an open-ended platform for practical training and theoretical research, and SCI-Arc’s international reputation for technological innovation in architectural design.
- SCI-Arc EDGE, Fiction and Entertainment (Master of Arts in Fiction and Entertainment), a program that aims to pioneer new forms of fiction and entertainment creation by using Los Angeles as a critical laboratory.
- SCI-Arc EDGE, Design of Cities (Master of Science in the Design of Cities), a program that seeks to apply architectural thinking to the design and production of cities and urban environments for the future.
- SCI-Arc EDGE, Design Theory and Pedagogy, (Master of Science in Design Theory and Pedagogy), a program that requires a applicants to have attained a terminal degree in architecture for admission (B Arch, M Arch, or equivalent) prior to attending, and that aims to “development an intellectual framework that can sustain a life-long theoretical project in architecture.”
While the idea for FSA is still gestating, I can describe what it won’t be. The Free School of Architecture will not be accredited, will not offer professional degrees, will not create a need or an opportunity to teach for salary, will not provide course credit or reciprocity with traditional institutions and will not have a permanent home.
FSA is a stand alone and autonomous organization and its primary goal is to absolve both students and teachers of conforming to established models of thinking.
We will see what emerges in 2017 but my hope is that over the course of a few years new, independent and diverse voices emerge from the school. Conversations originating at the Free School of Architecture may eventually be captured and published out by a sister organization being established next year, the Free Architecture Press (FAP).What are the central tenants of FSA?
FSA’s central tenants are:
1. To promote free and critical thinking in architecture;
2. To encourage a diverse community of students and teachers to explore the edges of the profession and the discipline;
3. To create a free and safe zone for debate and new ideas to emerge;
4. To question the need to ratify or sanctify official architectural positions and doctrines;
And most importantly:
5. To create an academic milieu in which young, diverse and independent architectural voices can emerge organically.What role does the fact that FSA is “tuition and salary free” play in the political objectives of the school?
I think the point of creating a “not tuition-driven, not-over-salaried-educator friendly architecture school” is pretty simple: Students and teachers will be no longer forced into their usual roles and ideas can be literally exchanged for free. That doesn’t release or excuse either the students or teachers at FSA from having to argue for the value of their ideas. In fact, it elevates the need for real debate and exchange.Your article for AN focused on the need to revisit the current conditions of so-called radical school from the prior generation. In this vein, how does FSA relate to Baudrillard's notion of the dialectical utopia? Well, I am no expert on Baudrillard but my understanding of his concept is that essentially utopias are “indissociable” from active social processes and therefore are in a continuous and dialectical, often “unharmonious,” relationship with the present or present situations. So I guess his point is that utopias exist now, not in the future, and they rub up against existing orders.
That said, I do believe that the present is built on the past (specifically, in several avant-garde architecture school cases—the works conducted in the 1970s and 1980s in London, Los Angeles and New York), so I am not at all naive about how we have arrived here or unabashed about referring the past to create a new present-future. By this I mean to radically re-open—without any nostalgia—the legacy of the Architectural Association in London under Alvin Boyarsky, SCI-Arc under Ray Kappe, as well as the academic and intellectual leadership of John Hejduk at the Cooper Union and Peter Eisenman at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies.
Old and good ideas are absolutely fair game, no one owns them and we all need to feel free to re-frame those academic moments and mine them for new approaches. Anyone who tells you otherwise or claims those ideas as their own or that they must belong to this clan or that school is being disingenuous. Architecture advances without hegemonies and FSA will not promote the usual academic hierarchies, it intends to upend them.In your first year, how many students do you aim to have? How many courses do you aim to teach?
12 students will join 10 teachers in June and July of 2017 for 6 weeks.
12 courses will be taught of which I will teach two classes, to open and close the year. The remaining 10 will be taught in 30, 60, and 120 minute blocks by the FSA’s 10 teachers.
- Creative or technical knowledge can only be passed on through direction supervision.
- The hand and eye of the disciple can only be cultivated, monitored, and authenticated by an appointed authority, typically a master or a master’s apprentice.
- The authority of the master’s opinion is evidenced by the caerful replication of the academy’s official style(s) and through the copying of known works by the master.
- Until sanctioned by the master or the academy itself, the disciple remains a novice and therefore an intellectual and creative subordinate.
- Any challenges to this (mostly) patriarchal order are considered heretical. (To wit: The Salon des Refusés of 1863.)
Architectural education today, perhaps not surprisingly, finds itself at a similar juncture some 50 years after institutions such as the IAUS, the Cooper Union, SCI-Arc, and the Architectural Association challenged accepted architectural academic orthodoxies, much like CalArts did in the arts. Many of the very schools of architecture that modeled new and innovative forms of teaching and pedagogy in the 1970s and 1980s now find themselves mired in various forms of academic cult worship: Digital traditionalisms, faux-art fetishisms, silly mannerist dead-ends, philosopher-shaman worship, and other neoconservative returns. The outcomes of this neoliberal and cultish return to a seemingly 19th century Beaux Arts models of architectural education have been devastating: Several generations of students were robbed of their voices and their right to grow potent individual practices; the architecture school falsely made into an imprimatur-machine for its academics, superseding the idea of a school as a space for free conversation, debate and critique; and most worryingly, the importance of the architectural school as an autonomous intellectual and cultural institution has been trolled and traded in, cheaply, for the bad faith business-innovation-two-point-oh-idea of education as an enterprise, student and teacher masquerading as entrepreneur and investor. Freeing architectural education now seems imperative and necessary. If we have reached the end of the current road, perhaps this is a golden opportunity to challenge these tired orthodoxies and to create a space for new forms of education, perhaps in post-studio and post-digital formats. This will require a challenge to these cults, and of them, the cult of the digital must be confronted and interrogated ruthlessly. Technology and its misuse and abuse, in particular, must be wrestled with now. As Peter Eisenman recently noted, “Technology is a cruel tool, because what it does is defer the possibility of the student being creative. The student can take an algorithm, produce 50 alternatives to the same problem… It takes away from you the possibility of value judgment.” Beyond the problem of too much technology, which might have an easy fix—namely turning off the screen once in a while in studio to read and think for an hour or two—one imagines that an inversion of the aforementioned and blindly accepted new academic traditions might produce a post-studio model of architectural education that could be constructed along these lines:
Well, the whole idea was to raise the question what do you do in an art school? And you say, "Well, what courses are necessary to teach?" and that is question begging in a way, because you can say, "Well, can art be taught at all?" And, you know, I prefer to say, “No, it can’t. It can’t be taught.” You can set up a situation where art might happen, but I think that’s the closest you get. Then I can jump from there into saying, “Well, if art can’t be taught, maybe it would be a good idea to have people that call themselves artists around. And something, some chemistry, might happen.” And then the third thing would be that to be as non-tradition-bound as possible, and just be very pragmatic, whatever works. You know, and if one thing doesn’t work, try another thing. My idea was always you haven’t taught until you see the light in their eyes. I mean, whatever. Extend your hand, that’s what you do. Otherwise, you’re like a missionary, delivering the gospel and leaving. [laughs]”2
- Creative or technical knowledge can be shared through engaged debate, critique, and conversation.
- The relatively high value placed on the approved hand and eye of the student as an expression of the notion of individual genius should be challenged.
- The fast paced reproduction of official styles and the copying of contemporary professional works should be exchanged for awkward experimentation and slow growth.
- The student and the teacher must be seen as intellectual and creative colleagues whose conversations followed shared but not parallel paths.
- Intelligent challenges to accepted academic concepts by students and teachers alike should be celebrated and not extinguished.