We had two days of curriculum review at the Department of Architecture, where all lecturers were involved. Today was the second day. It was full steam ahead like Klopp’s ‘full-throttle’ call. Well, at least that was the way I see it.
After learning from the mistakes of the previous years and also of the LAM and RIBA validation visit in June 2016, we came together to iron-out the curriculum. There were some issues regarding starting CAD production in the first year, but the proponents did not push for that in the crucial hour. Much of the ideas that filtered in and out of the head of department becomes concretized in these last two days. The head is always the key person in these deliberations and he did well to facilitate. If you have an agenda and you want it to be picked up by the head, you have to work on it from the beginning.
If you ask me how would I feel about the last two days, I feel that some things which is crucial has been picked up and established. We managed as a group of people to set aside differences and come to some very important conclusions and decisions. We have come a long way.
Notably, there was a debate about the ‘measured drawing’ course and issues on ‘manual drawings’.
Michael Lykoudis, dean of University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, disagreed that his students were destined to be employed only by a specific type of firm, arguing instead that modern and avant-garde firms value the solid grounding of a drawing-based education.
“When students draw and model by hand, they are able to better conceptualize the context and challenge of a client, which is what real firms do,” Lykoudis said. “They understand the principles of construction, which are the foundations of classical architecture. It’s a pragmatic approach.”
Lykoudis underlined the importance of being able to draw which relates to the principles of construction, where Yale had a strong identity as a school. where the graduates are really good at. One would think that there is no doubt the importance of ‘drawing’ in becoming an architect, but from our review, there were people believing that ‘something magical’ or ‘out of the box’ from being highly skilled with digital drawing. They don’t see that the education of the architect starts with ‘learning to see’.
When this question was raised:
Must we make it compulsory to draw by CADD starting in first year?
I would refer to a quote from article:
I think that drawing in an educational setting serves a different purpose than drawing in a working office. To me, the previous is about learning to see. First year students specifically, tend to “see” a building very simply; however, once they have to reproduce what they see by hand, they start to understand the intricacies a building and its parts. They see the depth of a three-wythe masonry wall, the “lines” of the window frame, or a soldier-course reveal that provides depth and shadow. Sketching and drawing in the first year (along with building physical models) provide so many “ah-ha” moments, that it should be mandatory.
For me, sketching in the office is used when I run into the limitations of the software (or my perceived limitations of it). I get out the trace when I need to “let a line go for walk.” Sketching allows me to quickly rethink things, just to see if it is worth doing in the computer. [MarkM]
In conclusion, the review showed that we could have a meaningful debate, but I really hope that the poor attendance today did not reflect the lack of belief to the process of review. In my opinion, the reviews had been going on for many years and the BSc and M Arch curriculum needs to be done to ‘tie the loose ends’ and make it more competitive.