1

Allan Kaprow –La educación del des-artista

2

David A. Kolb –Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development.

3

Giorgio Agamben – ¿Qué es un dispositivo? Sociológica, num. 73, pp 249-264

–  [A device] is a diverse ensemble including virtually everything, but it discursive or not, i.e. speeches, institutions, buildings, laws, policy measures, philosophical propositions… Device, taken in and of itself, is the network woven between these elements.

–  Devices have always had a specific strategic function that is always inscribed in power relations.

–  As such, devices are the result of the intersection of power and knowledge relations.

The un-education of architects

Demolición de las torres AfE de la Universidad Goethe

The un-education of architects 1

Does it make any sense to talk about teaching or learning? Moreover, can one actually teach, or only learn? Is teaching perhaps a mere accomplice to learning?

Learning is the holistic process of adapting to the world. Learning is no more than human beings’ main process of adaptation to their physical and social surroundings.2

Considering that learning is dynamic by nature, any static proposal to develop it makes no sense. Perhaps it is not learning that it generates, but rather indoctrination.

Learning, in Spanish has the same root as the word apprentice, which comes from Latin and means he who learns. Indoctrination is instructing someone in the knowledge or teachings of a doctrine, inculcating certain ideas or beliefs.

It is a mistake from the very outset for even those who are “concerned about teaching in Schools of Architecture” to pose the question how is teaching of architecture in Schools of Architecture now? Instead of asking How does one learn? Or, How can the conditions that empower students and enable their learning be generated? Changing this initial question means changing one’s outlook. Thus, the heart of the issue will no longer be the teacher, i.e. how is the master able to convey her infinite wisdom? Instead it will become part of ourselves, i.e. How are we, an ensemble of people with varied knowledge and interests, a community of learning, able to develop that intelligence in the face of a given field of knowledge, thought and specific practice, i.e. architecture?

As much as some people would like to ignore it, the relationship between architecture and social, political and economic processes must inevitably be acknowledged.  Recognizing this means accepting the dynamic nature of the practice of architecture just as social, political and economic spheres are also dynamic.

Thus, understanding architecture in its strategic dimension – as a thought system and stance taken vis-à-vis reality, leads us to conceive it as a generator of devices, as was conceived by Agamben.3 Conditions and qualities produced to interfere in and with people’s and society’s public and private life.

The position from which a discipline is revolutionised lies in how it is learned, how it develops, and how it evolves. This is why our schools are obliged to develop and proactively lead a conception of architectural practice, not merely by issuing lessons or analysing. Universities are the places where, stepping beyond the bounds of the discipline and modifying social, political, economic and technological conditions, institutions must be called into question. This is where it becomes necessary for other agents to work complementarily with architecture: sociologists, philosophers, politicians, economists and so forth. Including them in teaching is indispensible.

But it seems our schools of architecture are like an Olimpus of great academic truths where past bombast is asserted, reasserted, and reasserted yet again as a universal truth. While everything revolves around us in our great schools, we desperately hold on tight to stay still.

Can we please step out into reality, step out into the world and understand architecture as a bigger place than that occupied by just architects, with issues raised by, for and between architects?


Demolition of the AfE 116 meter towers at the University of Goethe (Frankfurt). These were the tallest buildings demolished in Europe with explosives. It took just a few seconds and had the help of thousands of curious citizens, according to the sources. Photograph taken by the news agency EFE, found at www.20minutos.es

Text translated by Beth Gelb
Notas de página
1

Allan Kaprow –La educación del des-artista

2

David A. Kolb –Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development.

3

Giorgio Agamben – ¿Qué es un dispositivo? Sociológica, num. 73, pp 249-264

–  [A device] is a diverse ensemble including virtually everything, but it discursive or not, i.e. speeches, institutions, buildings, laws, policy measures, philosophical propositions… Device, taken in and of itself, is the network woven between these elements.

–  Devices have always had a specific strategic function that is always inscribed in power relations.

–  As such, devices are the result of the intersection of power and knowledge relations.

Autor:
Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, arquitecta por la ETSAM (2013). Actualmente cursa becada por La Caixa, “Master in Critical Curatorial and Conceptual Pracice in Architecture” en Columbia University. Su práctica e investigación orbitan entre la pedagogía en la arquitectura y la experimentación de nuevos formatos de comunicación e iniciativas de práctica y crítica arquitectónica.

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