The Corner

Education

Schools of Architecture Serve Their Students Poorly

Like so many other fields, the teaching of architecture has come to be dominated by theorists whose ideas often serve their students poorly. In a Martin Center article, Professor Nikos Salingaros, winner of the 2019 Stockholm Culture Award for Architecture, reflects on the teaching and practice of architecture.

He writes, “It is remarkable that no other profession institutionalizes hero-worship like architecture. Students across the world are mainly taught narrow 20th-century architectural histories and theories, and upon graduation are ill-prepared to adapt this knowledge where they practice and respect locality.”

The big problem is that students are taught that they must follow their passions and let their creativity blossom. Sounds lovely, but the world doesn’t work that way, as the students later find out.

Architecture schools could and should teach students how to design buildings that are best designed to make people comfortable (physically and psychologically), but that will require them to do something that most academics dislike — change.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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