Monday, December 20, 2010

20:01 - 

Why Modern Architectural Education is Archaic

"It is clear to me that the architectural profession’s cultural irrelevance (and thus mass unemployment) is born of intellectual distortion caused by an exclusive internal focus and “let them eat cake” attitude of contempt for the “bourgeois” outlook that asks more of buildings than what is asked of sculpture."

"The resulting general cultural perception is that architects are as useful as couture fashion designers."

"But architects build their art with other people’s money in a world that exists outside the realms that their education prepares them for. Unlike law or medicine, where cases are won or lost and patients are cured or not, architects have effectively evolved a system where they themselves define what is success—and it is almost exclusively in the realm of fine-arts expression. That elitism is a narcissistic exercise that virtually ensures a tiny market share in a world that demands far more of its buildings than abstracted aesthetic expression."

Read the {full article}
The comments are well worth a read as well.

American design Schools Are A Mess, And Produce Weak Graduates

"Much of the work that students show me in their portfolios is broken into two categories: skills work (3D CAD) and process work (research, model-making). Only a few show projects showcasing the applicant's ability to integrate seamlessly all levels of creativity."

Read the {full article}

Although I do agree on many points I can't believe that ALL American design schools are a mess and that ALL graduates are weak!  What hope would there be for me then!? :)

Thoughts provoked by reading Architecture Addiction:

If you had asked me while in architecture school I don't think I would have felt that learning about other cultures architecture was as important.  Now, two and a half years later, having traveled to many different countries (yet still not satiated) I find that my observations of other cultures provides me with the most vivid inspirations.  How boring my Rolodex of inspirational images would be without my traveling to Italy, Morocco, Mexico, Greece, among others!

I do believe that we must be educated in some degree (while in school) on the structural and engineered aspects of a building.  Though I do think a lot of that can be learned while "on the job" or by volunteering your time at such places like Habitat for Humanity.  That being said I do think there is a lack of aesthetic education in schools.  If you are lucky enough to have innate talent, great but I have seen a lot of ugly butt architecture projects.  A dearly looked up to professor at my alma mater asked me if I would write my thoughts on the schools decision to cut art classes out of an architecture student's curriculum.  My thoughts are that it is disastrous, art is where we learn what/how to make beautiful objects.  It is the basics such as composition, visual elements, texture, etc.  First and foremost architects are artists.

"It appears just as the country has come to grips with the fact that buildings are responsible for over 50% (50.1% to be exact*) of all the energy consumed in the US."    Cited here.

While staying in various hotel (riads) in Morocco I realized that most people did not have heat (or AC but in December I was noticing the lack of warmth not the lack of coolness.  I was also noticing the lack of toilet paper but that is another story all together!)  If 50% of our energy usage is from buildings then I ask this:  should we be designing buildings that use less energy or should be just buck-up and decide that we can live less comfortably?  Realizing for sure that the solution is ideally somewhere in between.
I'm stepping off my soapbox now!

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