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Volume · Issue 02
January 22, 2015
paprika! does pedagogy
The teaching of architecture today is, we think, tragically haphazard.
Perhaps that is because architecture is the odd profession out. Unlike medicine, where patients receive definitive cures, we never settle for buildings which merely work; instead, we insist on inhabiting a subjective realm. Or, as Alan Plattus recently put it, “the reason it is architecture and not just construction is that we add the rhetoric.” Unlike law, we have neither a constitution nor a supreme court, neither an authoritative canon nor a central adjudicator of taste.
Our canons are numerous, as are our judges, leaving architecture a perpetual challenge for the academy. Everyone and no one seems to know how to teach the subject. Problematically, many of the greatest buildings were designed before it was taught at all.
In its recent issue on the topic, “School is Out,” Uncube Magazine concluded the only thing “everyone can agree on” is “the system needs a serious overhaul.” The GSD ran an exhibit last fall called “Pedagogy and Practice,” setting up its argument that, rather than tying themselves to buildings, architects need to be the world’s problem solvers.
Last fall Yale took its turn. Indicative of our own pedagogy, we rendered the problem as building. In his “Pedagogy and Place” seminar, Dean Stern asked students to produce drawings and papers connecting the buildings of architecture schools past and present to their teaching. In their design studio, Mark Foster Gage tasked second year students to design the architecture school of the future, replacing the University of Pennsylvania’s Meyerson Hall.
In this issue, true to Paprika’s raison d’être, writers were free to take up whatever topic interested them. A majority chose pedagogy. Dean Stern’s work will culminate with a carefully curated exhibit in 2016. The critics’ favorite studio designs will surface next fall in Retrospecta. Here find our thoughts, clear and unfiltered, though dare we say it with a little bit of spice.