Current form of architectural education, which consists of studio project, lectures, crafta and modelling, review and jury, resulted from several educational traditions in history: Master atelier system at Ecole des Beaux Arts; systematic education of ...
Current form of architectural education, which consists of studio project, lectures, crafta and modelling, review and jury, resulted from several educational traditions in history: Master atelier system at Ecole des Beaux Arts; systematic education of method and process at Ecole polytechnique; the tradition of crafts education at Workshop in England; mass education of architecture at universities in America.
First modern education of architecture began at Ecole des Beaux arts and Ecole polytechnique. The former was a educational system composed of design education at Master atelier and lectures at Ecole, and regular competitions controlled by Academy. The latter offered a more objective teaching of method and process of design at school, influenced by Enlightenment philosophy. Yet, their educational systems maintained the tradition of teaching by role model and historical types.
As modern architecture develops, architectural education based on traditional role model and historical precedents became obsolete. Education of modern architecture began at Bauhaus and developed further at Texas Austin.
At Bauhaus, historical styles and drawing skill were denied. Instead individual creativity and craft education were emphasized. Basic design course was considered as a process through which individual creativity can be awaken in an uncontaminated child like state. Since Bauhaus, teaching architecture from non architectural design exercise became a standard pedagogy at architectural schools.
Texas Austin invented exercises and problems for the purpose of teaching canons of modern architecture, especially its spatial character, more objectively. And they invented architectonic problems like cube problem, nine square problem, linking basic design course to real architectural issues. These exercises are a conflation of the tradition of objective and scientific teaching of process pursued at Ecole poly technique and Bauhaus, and the typological approach developed at Beaux-arts system. At Cooper Union, a more artistic, subjective approach, which uses two dimensional drawings in order to create imaginative spatial form, was developed.
Since modern architecture, method of studio teaching has changed from a mimesis to research. Individual creativity was more valued and studio environment has changed from a traditional Master atelier to a kind of research lab where dialogues and discussions are more important. However, there are many pedagogic issues remain unresolved between scientific and objective education and artistic, subjective approach, between typological approach and programatic approach. Also, as architectural education takes place in universities, inevitable compromise of professional education with general education, and the alignement between education and practice became issues.
Most contemporary studios as I observed are research studios. They set problems to students without giving a definite solution and find issues as the studio goes on. However, in many cases, educational goal and results of the studios are not so clear. Heterogeneity of studio teaching method reflect the current chaotic situation of architecture.
Professor Shone at MIT performed a research on studio education in 80's, arguing that characteristics of architectural studio makes it an example of teaching of artistry depending on problem definition and on reflection in action, and suggested that architectural studio should be a model for other professional education in contemporary society where uncertainties prevail.
On one hand, there is a continuing tendency of mystification of studio which considers uncertainty of an architectural studio as a proof of mastery. On the other hand, there are voices for critical pedagogy which emphasizes the democratization of studio since whose voice dominates is an important political issue in studio environment.