Questions of structural integrity

January 29, 1999

The statement from HEFCE illustrates the protectionism that has so dominated architectural education in the past two decades; even the RIBA response was immediately protectionist. It may be necessary to question the reason for this to unravel the myths. Are the following fact or myth?

* Architecture spans the sciences and humanities but remains attractive to entrants despite demands for science-based A levels at a level science courses envy

* Teaching and examination methods traditional to the pedagogy of architecture are now being discovered by "teaching and learning" apostles

* The professional validation of input and assessment of student outcome and "added value" is equally exemplary in quality assessment methods

* The integration of received knowledge, testing by project and by structured practical experience and then a final two years developing individual strengths is exemplary.

The above are fact, but all is not well or architectural education would not be undergoing such a review. Until architects can make explicit the link between practice and research, we will continue to protect the apparently inexplicable.

Wendy Potts Head, school of architecture University of Portsmouth

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