Comment on: Are there too many architecture schools?
"I'd be interested to find out the number of the heads of these many schools are experienced in the craft of architecture, have actually built projects of some scale....... or at all."
/\ this pretty much sums it up....but I'd add that the job description of any head of school focuses pretty much exclusively on research and how many symposia you've attended. Therefore it's hardly surprising if after acquiring their PHD, publishing 20 papers on obscure Ukrainian architects, talking about said architects at the Vladivostok international symposium on futurespaceplace (tm) and then jumping through endless EU research funding hoops to publish a book no one buys that any successful candidate for a head-of-school job has had any time to actually learn how to build anything!
I have now wandered though another raft of end- of-year shows which display huge endeavour and creativity...but exhibit endless unbuildable, unreal, irrelevant and ultimately forgettable projects that will evaporate as soon as the shows close. What have the students learned? how to get cardboard laser cut and how to produce beautifully rendered drawings. The sole aim of the schools seems to be the end-of-year exhibition - and the staff all seem very satisfied with the output....as they should be as that is their job.
No one in architecture schools or the a RIBA is going to suggest a radical change of course - that needs to come from practice.
The menu in the background more interesting than the scribble over the top of it. Was this done by Abramovitch between gulps of Petrus?!
You are hinting at the real problem here which is the direction of the institutions, the staff and their curriculums and not the students who just essentially do as they are guided.
In my experience of teaching the uppermost concern of the staff is how their student's work reflects on the staff and not the student's actual developing skillsets. There is a terrible vanity at the heart of architectural education that is reflective of the rather towering vanity out in practice where we still marvel at archiporn images of totally empty buildings, agonise over detailing just because it’ll “look good in the journals” and generally sacrifice societal usefulness at the unforgiving altar of aesthetics…It seems somewhat hypocritical to criticize students for doing the same – i.e. sacrificing all in the pursuit rich imagery as the work must by definition remain theoretical.
I’m not actually sure what I learned in the interminable five years at university – because I know I learned 10 times as much in two years of practice with an inspiring mentor. Something most of my contemporaries readily agree to. Which is bad news for 100s of very well paid, low pressure architectural teaching jobs around the country.
However Turkeys don’t usually vote for Christmas and the architectural education establishment and the RIBA will keep on rearranging the chairs on the deck of the sinking ship but with the perfect storm of a prolonged construction downturn, massive university fees and an increasingly devalued profession the water is lapping over the bows…
My ten pence worth of a suggestion: A 2 year, high intensity, theoretical, creative course followed by 3 years of internships, apprenticeships and learning how the industry works by first hand working. No debt, no time wasting and young architects being both creative AND useful…Plenty of issues to thrash out bvut increasing seems like the only workable solution.
I’ll not hold my breath for this to be adopted but trust me – it’ll be forced upon us at some point through necessity and admissions dropping off a cliff.
Comment on: Ideas contest launched to help UK homeless
A tent perhaps?
How about you donate all the £4 fees to Shelter and then lobby government to provide a tax break or suitable incentive to landlords of vacant buildings to give them to homeless charities on short term tenancies. Immediate, free and much better than a few artistically arranged cardboard tubes and bacofoil...
Comment on: Refurbishment, London, by Atmos Studio
A very beautiful object no doubt - and rightly highlighted as an exemplar. However breathless talk of a new architectural idiom is more than a little overstated...Its hardly a departure from a Gaudi's staircase such as the one at Casa Batlló and a curious lack of reference to Heatherwick's Longchamp staircase. Maybe the writer needs to climb a few more staircases!