Future Directions of Architectural Education

In Dublin on March 16, the EAAE Prize for writings in Architectural Education, sponsored by VELUX, is awarded for the 8th time.

The competition sets a base for a much needed discussion on the content and direction of architectural education. The theme of the EAAE Prize 2003-2005 was: How will the demands of the information society and "new knowledge" affect the demands for relevant or necessary know-how in architectural education?

The 1st prize is awarded to Architecture Associate Professor Frank Weiner from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In his prize-winning paper "Five Critical Horizons for Architectural Educators in an Age of Distraction", Frank Weiner offers a broad platform from which to view some of the current challenges facing architectural educators as we collectively seek future directions.

- I am happily surprised to see that the jury acknowledges my views on architectural education. This is an important task, since architecture is capable of inciting both the most tragic and serious emotions that reside within us as well as the most comedic and delightful emotions. Therefore, teaching architecture is in Martin Heidegger¿s words an "exalted matter", says Frank Weiner.

The 2nd prize is awarded to Thomas McQuillan from the Oslo School of Architecture in Norway. In his paper "Informed Architecture: Three Tensions" he explores three approaches to the challenges of the future of architectural education

- While demands for "new knowledge" will inevitably need to be met, I argue that the production and strengthening of "old knowledge" will be equally important, and that the present climate in architecture may hold the promise of drawing forth a more fit and diverse discipline, by identifying and strengthening architecture¿s basic multiplicity, says Thomas McQuillan.

The 3rd prize is shared by Rachel McCann and Kim Sorvig. Architect, architectural historian, and theorist Rachel McCann is an Associate Professor at Mississippi State University. Kim Sorvig is a Research Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture, University of New Mexico.

In her paper "On the Hither Side of Depth", professor McCann describes the problems inherent in architectural pedagogy stemming from the mind-body split brought about by the Enlightenment and exacerbated by the information age, and makes the case for a pedagogy based in corporeal engagement

In his paper "Virtual and Real: Teaching the Paradoxes of Design", professor Sorvig challenges the popular view, that computers will either rule or ruin architecture and other design fields. Instead he proposes a more holistic view: If society as a whole actually obsesses on virtual electronic lifestyles, that will leave designers as the last humans to deal with tangible reality.

- I was very pleased that the EAAE competition process welcomed my rather down-to-earth ideas as worthy companions to more intellectualized viewpoints. This competition is unusual in structure - a collaboration among jurors and finalists, especially - that produced the winning results in a way directly parallel to the design process, rather than as a narrowly "competitive" contest, says professor Sorvig.