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Tema - Critical Thinking
Tema - Investigation
1

Unfortunately, with the current evaluation system in which the ANECA (the Spanish National Quality and Accreditation Evaluation Agency) evaluates researchers’ merits, many doctors are deterred from trying to publish their own thesis as a book. The perversion of the system is such that the evaluation will be better the more the thesis is “chopped up” into articles in a magazine that will be indexed as complete books. (Personally, being an idiot to the nth degree as I am, I refused to contribute to that perversion and in 2016 I stubbornly insisted on publishing half of my thesis as a book, accessible here.

2

In the TESEO repository of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Spain, doctoral theses presented in Spain can be located. Other highly recommendable repositories include the UPM and the UPC, which have their own highly operative search engines.

3

To avoid any snide comments, you can read a summary of my doctoral thesis HERE (entitled: Arne Jacobsen: el paisaje codificado, 2012). And if you are interested, you can find it on my Academia.edu profile and download it free of charge here.

4

Albeit exceptional, publishing doctoral theses in the format of a yearly competition called annually by the Fundación Arquia – Tesis is a model initiative in this direction. It must also be said that recently, some Architects Associations and Schools of Architecture are fostering this type of dissemination through events and conferences enabling members and students to listen to doctors of architecture presenting their theses.

5

On social media, some of us use the hashtag #ArquitecturaModernaESP to highlight works of Spanish modern architecture built during the 20th century. You can find them mainly on Twitter and Instagram. I would encourage you to use this hashtag to spread our modern architectural heritage.

Architecture theses… Are we idiots?

Adaptation of the poster for the film “TESIS” directed by Alejandro Amenábar (not intended for profit or offence).

Over the last decade and a bit, reading doctoral theses in architecture has become increasingly common, although still only a very small minority does so. It used to be that only those who clearly aspired to university teaching would undertake such a challenge. It was and still is that imperative “passport” to a career in any School of Architecture.

Even so, this maximum academic qualification does not pay-off, nor does it afford any recognition in a non-academic career. Nowadays, it gets you farther to have a certificate in English or Teaching as these are merits recognised, for instance, in competitions for teaching in secondary schools or working as a municipal architect.

So, are we idiots?

Well, we certainly are. No one in his or her right mind would take five years (at a bare minimum) of their time to perform a mountain of work singlehandedly without any remuneration or founded expectation thereof, and pay all of the related expenses themselves. And in the meantime leave one’s own career and even one’s family life at a standstill.

So why do architects do theses?

We have to at least acknowledge this: the training we get in Schools of Architecture is (was) very good and a great deal of dedication was demanded of us as compared to other courses of study. Those sleepless nights before project due dates were commonplace before the Bologna guidelines brought in a lighter diet.  Nothing deters us and we respond automatically like Skinner’s mice, if you’ll allow me the expression. We passionately love architecture, and going on this way we secure our position as the most “unproductive” group. Because the most a Doctor can aspire to with that title is breaking into the university as an “Associate Professor” in some department, earning far below the minimum salary, not counting the expenses defrayed for one’s own Social Security contributions.  Of course when you tell them this no one believes you. But it’s the crude reality.

If all of this is bad, the worst is yet to come.  The worst is seeing how the University slights the fabulous works of research presented. With honourable exceptions, recent theses are of far higher quality than those that were read by the professors on the thesis panels. Yet they are put to no use… None at all.  Only a tiny fraction are actually published, and the rest fall into oblivion in some library.1

Why? There again, it’s inexplicable that many authors refuse to provide free access to their doctoral works in online repositories run by the university or the government2. The most they do is post the mandatory abstract and that’s it. Does it make any sense to hide the results of doctoral research?3

I will add two more points to conclude. First, the time has come to demand full Open Access to these excellent works to secure greater social and professional recognition for their authors. Secondly, the results must be disseminated for the public at large.4 That way, the public will see for themselves the quality of our #ArquitecturaModernaESP 5 on which so many magnificent theses have been written by young researchers so far this millennium. To disseminate is to generate knowledge, and knowledge is appreciation and enjoyment of culture. And in our current society we are at a loss for Culture, with a capital C.


Text translated by Beth Gelb
Notas de página
1

Unfortunately, with the current evaluation system in which the ANECA (the Spanish National Quality and Accreditation Evaluation Agency) evaluates researchers’ merits, many doctors are deterred from trying to publish their own thesis as a book. The perversion of the system is such that the evaluation will be better the more the thesis is “chopped up” into articles in a magazine that will be indexed as complete books. (Personally, being an idiot to the nth degree as I am, I refused to contribute to that perversion and in 2016 I stubbornly insisted on publishing half of my thesis as a book, accessible here.

2

In the TESEO repository of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Spain, doctoral theses presented in Spain can be located. Other highly recommendable repositories include the UPM and the UPC, which have their own highly operative search engines.

3

To avoid any snide comments, you can read a summary of my doctoral thesis HERE (entitled: Arne Jacobsen: el paisaje codificado, 2012). And if you are interested, you can find it on my Academia.edu profile and download it free of charge here.

4

Albeit exceptional, publishing doctoral theses in the format of a yearly competition called annually by the Fundación Arquia – Tesis is a model initiative in this direction. It must also be said that recently, some Architects Associations and Schools of Architecture are fostering this type of dissemination through events and conferences enabling members and students to listen to doctors of architecture presenting their theses.

5

On social media, some of us use the hashtag #ArquitecturaModernaESP to highlight works of Spanish modern architecture built during the 20th century. You can find them mainly on Twitter and Instagram. I would encourage you to use this hashtag to spread our modern architectural heritage.

Autor:
(Teruel, 1974) Arquitecto por la ETSA.Valladolid (1999) y doctor en Arquitectura (2013). Fundador del estudio [r-arquitectura], oficina de proyectos arquitectónicos y editor del blog de [r-arquitectura] . Investigador permanente sobre Arquitectura Moderna y Contemporánea, profesor de la ETSA.Valladolid, y autor del libro Mies van der Rohe: el espacio de la ausencia.

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