Affecting Change in Architectural Education


December 31, 2009


Architecture concerns not so much an explicit body of transmittable knowledge and protocols as it does a set of implicit understandings, sensitivities and sensibilities. The education of an architect therefore concerns the mission of endowing candidates with those implicit traits. This is not to say that architects do not possess and wield prodigious amounts of explicit cognitive knowledge, because they certainly do. But that explicit component of architectural know-how is actually vested in and deployed by the architect not so much because the knowledge has been invented, discovered, or developed by architects; but rather because they have assimilated it from other disciplines in a special way that gives architects adductive and hermeneutic insight into vast, detailed, and complex design challenges. Engineers make better machines, artists make more meaningful artifacts, and psychologists provide better human environments; but architects are trained to see the underlying opportunity and potential celebration of how those constituent menus might become a feast. In any unresolved complex of space, material and form, architects grasp a unique essence in how they perceive the "happily ever after” of what it might be and how that vision might be made whole and concrete. By the time a student of architecture is fully indoctrinated, this grasp of an underlying ideal essence is so potent that it becomes the student's identity... and the purpose of that insight becomes an irresistible intention.