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Alan Penn

Recent activity

Comments (4)

  • Comment on: Steven Holl wins university contest with Giant’s Causeway-inspired design

    Alan Penn's comment 8 August, 2018 9:52 am

    looks like he's not visited the causeway either....

  • Comment on: Dismay as 2023 UK European Capital of Culture is cancelled

    Alan Penn's comment 24 November, 2017 11:13 am

    The Brexit idea has completely failed. When will someone step up to the plate and call the Tory party to order; sack the Brexiteers and get back to a bit more rational political debate...

  • Comment on: Debate: should architecture schools produce ‘oven-ready’ architects?

    Alan Penn's comment 24 July, 2015 12:24 pm

    A nice piece - the education debate is complex, but becomes polarised when we forget that the whole of life is an education. The notion of an 'oven-ready employee' makes the false assumption that all of education happens before starting work, and that after one starts working one ceases to learn and should be valued purely in terms of the efficiency with which one 'produces the goods'. If architecture were so codified as to make this possible then quite frankly someone would have computerised it by now. It is not, even in the repeat business of housing.

    What a good university education does is to teach people how to learn. The key components of this are to ensure that students learn to question all received wisdom, have open and curious minds and are reflective and critical about their own thought processes and so can recognise what they are getting stuck within a mindset, and know how to get unstuck. They learn how to accomplish these things both individually, using plastic media to stimulate thought, and collectively through discussing and debating in the tutorial and crit. This is a surprisingly general set of soft skills which means that when they arrive in the office they should be able to learn all those things that they have not been taught, but will tend to do so whilst questioning what they are being told.

    I am sure there are practices that go out to buy an oven-ready employee, but perhaps they shouldn't complain if what they get is more McCain than Raymond Blanc?

  • Comment on: Teresa Borsuk crowned Woman Architect of the Year 2015

    Alan Penn's comment 27 February, 2015 3:48 pm

    fantastic - it was always count to happen!