Critical Design

Last night, Brett Steele, the Director of the Architectural Association in London, spoke at Gould Hall on the topic of contemporary architectural pedagogy. His lecture was particularly relevant to the Critical Design Interest Group simply because the AA represents the pinnacle of architectural discourse internationally. As such, the school–and, even more so, Steele’s talk–acts as a useful barometer that one can critically evaluate the current state of avant-garde design (education) in our historic epoch.

Steele began his talk by sketching his outlook of our current cultural paradigm, which he argues is manifested by new technologies like search engines, social network, and various forms of online communication that have altered social and spatial relationships. He argued that architectural education in particular has been slow to adapt to such socio-technological changes, remaining largely modeled on 19th Century monasticism in terms of pedagogical approach and spatial relationships in the studio. Tracing generational shifts in…

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