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European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture – European Association for Architectural Education
Educating Architects Towards Innovative Architecture
Istanbul 17-19 June 2010
Host: Yildiz Technical University of Istanbul, Faculty of Architecture
Innovation is a fundamental condition of architectural creation. All architectural development in time is based upon the critical questioning of some aspects of the pre-existent and established formal expressions and of their underlying values and principles. This critical questioning of the established is the power of architectural creation, the energy of the act of design, the leading force of architects’ formal decisions. There can be no architectural creation without overcoming the existent, without remodeling, reorganizing or reconstructing to a certain extent the established; that is to say, there is no architecture without innovation.
We are experiencing a world that is changing extremely fast. Structured upon an increasingly internationalized knowledge-based economy, facilitated by the already powerful media and the extended applications of digital technology in all sectors of production, administration, education and consumption, this world is conditioned to be rapidly transformed. The mental and operational landscape of our life is every day affected by unexpected modifications of possibilities, capacities and conditions influencing our social, financial, cultural and built environment directly. All the activities are profoundly influenced by these new conditions of instability, fluidity and interdependence of various, very often unpredictable parameters and factors, which rapidly transform our vision of things and of the world.
In this unconventional and fluid environment of an internationalized economy and an information society, architecture, as a cultural statement and manifestation of our life in space, seeks its new consideration. It is constantly elaborating a redefinition or restructuring of a new framework of values and principles, of knowledge, skills and competences, of tools and of means, of priorities and preferences, as a new paradigm. New terms, notions and concepts emerge in the architectural vocabulary. Liquid, hybrid, virtual, trans, animation, seamless, interactivity, parametric, machinic, self generating, buildability are all new terms introducing a new culture where change is replacing stability and solidity and where complexity is replacing simplicity and clarity, terms which nourished architecture for centuries.
In a fast changing society architecture is experimenting an architecture of change. In this new social project of architecture, innovation is more than ever a fundamental condition. To be at the forefront of this new world, architecture needs to become more innovative. There is a need for a more ambitious and broad-based innovation tendency. One of the most significant shifts of the contemporary architectural thinking in our fast changing world is our strong inclination towards an innovative experimentation adaptable to the speed of changes occurring in our mind, soul and body. Nowadays innovation appears as a quality of architectural creations introducing a new aesthetic aspect of spatial forms. It is presented as a process relocating architectural practice to new forms of expression and creative paths. It is often introduced as a means-tool to escape from the established and to formulate the expected. It is conceived as a window introducing new ideas about experiencing space. In the end it is a value transgressing the requested ‘other’ able to assure new architectural forms for a new social demand.
If the claim for innovation becomes stronger under the existing speed of changes, are our architectural education institutions ready to educate new architects how to create innovative architecture? Do they know how to assure to their graduates the ability to think and to act innovatively? Traditionally, our education system is based upon the values of the proved, the tested, the predictable, the rational and the confirmed. Schools of architecture appear rather resistant to the new, the unknown, the changing, trying to approach it through the ideas, the tools and the means developed and applied by the established against which the new is fighting. Usually only a small number of teachers manage to reform their architectural modules and to encourage their students to become familiar with and to appropriate this new paradigm where to innovate is a fundamental competence. As the school environment does not always offer a fertile ground for the debate on teaching architectural innovation in our digital era, the exchange, the networking and the debate with other teachers from other schools becomes a real wish, expectation and academic necessity.
Animated by this necessity, the workshop wishes to open the debate and exchange ideas and views on the following issues:
- How do our schools of architecture incorporate into their curricula the contemporary call for innovation?
- How can we introduce our students to an innovative way of thinking, designing and materialising architecture?
- How can the claim for innovation be introduced to the teaching of different subject areas of architectural curricula?
- How can we assure to our students the ability to be innovative?
- Which teaching methods do we apply for this purpose? Which educational processes do we follow?
- How can we become more efficient in our teaching? Are there innovative teaching methods to assure innovative thinking to our students?
- How can we recognise and evaluate the innovative?
- What do we consider as the appropriate assignments that can enhance innovation in our students’ thinking processes?
- Can innovation in a school curriculum come from innovation in the content, vehicle, teaching methods, means and nature of teaching and in the student group?
The conference invites teachers of Schools of Architecture in Europe to present their teaching practices, experiences and experimentations related to the contemporary call for a more innovative architectural creation in a fast changing world. With this invitation we would like to establish a dialogue and exchange of ideas and experiences among the participants on the above issues. We would like to record innovative approaches introducing students to innovative thinking and doing and to map the way that our educational system hosts and cultivates innovation as a contemporary value of contemporary architectural creation.
An abstract of 600-700 words must be submitted by May 10, 2010. You will be asked to submit your final paper by the end of July 2010 for the publication of the proceedings, which will be distributed to all EAAE/ENHSA school members. You may organize your abstract by answering some of the above-mentioned questions.