Oxford Dreaming Spires

Viewpoint

Peter Buchanan

For: Architecture would be better off without Schools of Architecture

Peter Buchanan - click for biography
 

The world is changing, and some of this already impacts architectural practice. Yet most architectural schools inadequately register these changes. Though supposedly concerned with education, many teachers are reluctant to re-skill and reorient themselves. Besides, some changes, such as the increasingly collaborative nature of practice - with engineers, contractors and manufacturers as vital contributors to design are difficult to replicate in current schools, as is the use of sophisticated predictive modelling as a design tool.

Compounding these problems, history and theory is too often disengaged from the physical realities and experience of architecture, leading to narrow irrelevancy. Many teachers pursue arcane interests, unconcerned with relevancy, let alone usefulness, like medieval Scholastics arguing angels on pinheads and oblivious of the changing world.

Schools argue that preparing students for practice merely entrenches the status quo. But, rooted in reality, practice moves forward: it is the schools, despite the camouflage of whizzy computer-generated forms, that maintain an obsolete status quo. Education needs to re-engage and perhaps partially merge with practice to be re-energised by the creative challenges of moving towards sustainability, which must encompass more than the ecological and technical issues now addressed to include also its cultural and psychological dimensions.

 

 

 

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