learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

A list of modest achievements

Last week I bemoaned the state of fuzziness that had overwhelmed my brain as a result of a slightly over ambitious first month of PhD-dom. New to the project and revisiting the subject, I wanted to touch base on a few subject areas that I was either rusty or not familiar with. Hence a rather chaotic reading list.
With a gloomy wet day now setting in, and my next supervisions next week, I wanted to take control of the mess on my desk and go through what I’ve actually done over the last few weeks. I don’t think it would be helpful to divide my time into periods of reading and periods of writing, but it has certainly been a busier month for absorption than production. Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed is the only one I had previously visited, and that provided a useful kick start in some thinking about pedagogical practice. It was also a delight to re-read, and the continued relevance of the text to numerous fields is a testament to the brilliance and clarity of thought expressed therein. The following key texts have been read, which is to say that I have read them from end to end and noted them either in the process or afterwards during a second pass.
  • DE CARLO, G., 2005. Architecture’s Public. In: P. BLUNDELL JONES, D. PETRESCU and J. TILL, eds, Architecture and Participation. First edn. London: Spon, pp. 3-22.
  • CUFF, D., 1991. Architecture : the story of practice. Cambridge MA: MIT Press
  • FREIRE, P., 1996. Pedagogy of the oppressed. Revised edition edn. London: Hammondsworth Penguin.
  • FISHER, T., 2008. Architectural design and ethics. 1 edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.
  • SALAMA, A., 2007. A Structured Content and A Rigorous Process Meet in Studio Pedagogy. In: A. SALAMA and N. WILKINSON, eds, Design Studio Pedagogy: Horizons For the Future. 1 edn. Gateshead: The Urban International Press, pp. 153-166.
  • STEVENS, G., 1998. The Favored Circle : the social foundations of architectural distinction. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

The following texts have simply been ‘read’, which is to say that I have just read them from end to end, but without the foresight of noting them. A bad habit, that I will have to overcome, because there are many unrelated but mutually supportive strands in these that I will no doubt return to in due course.

  • AHRENTZEN, S. and ANTHONY, K.H., 1993. Sex, Stars, and Studios: A Look at Gendered Educational Practices in Architecture. Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), 47(1), pp. 11-29.
  • AU, W., 2007. Epistemology of the Oppressed: The Dialectics of Paulo Freire’s Theory of Knowledge. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 5(2),.
  • BEAMONT, O., 2008. A Student’s Perspective: The Theory and Practice of Live Projects. M Architecture edn. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.
  • ELLIS, R. and CUFF, D., eds, 1989. Architects’ People. 1 edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • FREDERICKSON, M.P., 1993. Gender and Racial Bias in Design Juries. Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), 47(1), pp. 38-48.
  • GROAT, L.N. and AHRENTZEN, S., 1996. Reconceptualizing Architectural Education for a More Diverse Future: Perceptions and Visions of Architectural Students. Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), 49(3), pp. 166-183.
  • MORROW, R., 2007. Creative Transformations. In: A. SALAMA and N. WILKINSON, eds, Design Studio Pedagogy: horizons for the Future. Urban International Press, .
  • SACHS, A., 1999. ‘Stuckness’ in the design studio. Design Studies, 20(2), pp. 195-209.
  • TILL, J., 2009. Architecture Depends. 1 edn. Cambridge MA: MIT Press

That’s been the input. The output so far has included an interesting thought process inspired by the Freire and De Carlo texts, but I can’t yet be sure where that’s taking me. Initial definitions of key terms relating to alternative architectural practices have been compiled, but I am increasingly of the opinion that it is unhelpful to spend time simply defining alternative or conventional architectural practices. The value in these terms is to build a more reliable means of analysing practices. That will depend largely on where I go in terms of empirical research and methodologies.

Modest beginnings, out of which I am continuing to expand and define my field of reference and project ambitions. An opportunity has presented itself next week to introduce myself and the project to a potential second supervisor and other interested staff, so a narrative about my background, interest in and knowledge of the field of architectural education is being constructed to explain where I’ve come from and where I hope to go next. This might help you read this blog, so I’ll be working on those next to give a better idea of what I’m up to. In the mean time, Squirrel (the one shedding fur all over my desk in the photograph) is demanding attention. And who am I to argue?


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