Architectural Education Through Materiality : Pedagogies of 20th Century Design book cover
1st Edition

Architectural Education Through Materiality
Pedagogies of 20th Century Design

ISBN 9781032062099
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
268 Pages 18 Color & 98 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

What kind of architectural knowledge was cultivated through drawings, models, design-build experimental houses and learning environments in the 20th century? And, did new teaching techniques and tools foster pedagogical, institutional and even cultural renewal? Architectural Education Through Materiality: Pedagogies of 20th Century Design brings together a collection of illustrated essays dedicated to exploring the complex processes that transformed architecture’s pedagogies in the 20th century.

The last decade has seen a substantial increase in interest in the history of architectural education. This book widens the geographical scope beyond local school histories and sets out to discover the very distinct materialities and technologies of schooling as active agents in the making of architectural schools. Architectural Education Through Materiality argues that knowledge transmission cannot be reduced to ‘software’, the relatively easily detectable ideas in course notes and handbooks, but also has to be studied in close relation to the ‘hardware’ of, for instance, wall pictures, textiles, campus designs, slide projectors and even bodies.

Presenting illustrated case studies of works by architects, educators and theorists including Dalibor Vesely, Dom Hans van der Laan, the Global Tools group, Heinrich Wölfflin, Alfons Hoppenbrouwers, Joseph Rykwert, Pancho Guedes and Robert Cummings, and focusing on student-led educational initiatives in Europe, the UK, North America and Australia, the book will inspire students, educators and professionals with an interest in the many ways architectural knowledge is produced and taught.

Table of Contents

Introduction: a passage to material hermeneutics

Elke Couchez & Rajesh Heynickx


Section 1: Objects on Display: Learning Through Looking

Chapter 1: From wooden blocks to Scottish tartans. Dom Hans van der Laan’s reconciliation of rational patterns and spatial experience.

Caroline Voet

Chaper 2: A Walking exhibit. Alfons Hoppenbrouwers’s visual pedagogy

Elke Couchez

Chapter 3: Clashing perspectives: Joseph Rykwert’s object lesson at Ulm School of Design.

Paul James

Chapter 4: Pancho’s passages: framing transitional objects for decolonial education in 1980s South Africa

Hannah le Roux


Section 2: Hands-on: Learning Through Manual Work

Chapter 5: Planning problems: data graphics in the education of architects and planners at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the 1940s.

Anna Vallye

Chapter 6: The Cambridge collage: Dalibor Vesely, phenomenology, and architectural design method

Joseph Bedford

Chapter 7: Little living labs: 1970s student design-build projects and the objects of experimental lifestyles

Lee Stickells


Section 3: Bodies in Space: Synesthetic Learning

Chapter 8: The body as an ultimate form of architecture. Global Tools Body Workshops

Silvia Franceschini

Chapter 9: Parallel narratives of disciplinary disruption. The bush campus as design and pedagogical concept.

Susan Holden

Chapter 10: Environmental learning revisited: cities, issues, bodies.

Isabelle Doucet


Section 4: Learning by Technologies: Audio-Visual Transmissions

Chapter 11: In the eye of the projector. Wölfflin, slides and architecture in postwar America

Rajesh Heynickx

Chapter 12: Wireless architecture: Robert Cummings’ early radio broadcasts

John Macarthur and Deborah van der Plaat

Chapter 13: The captive lecturer

James Benedict Brown



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Elke Couchez is an FWO Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hasselt, Belgium.

Rajesh Heynickx is a Professor in Architectural Theory and Intellectual History at the Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven, Belgium.


"This is a remarkable collection of essays that demonstrate for both teachers and students that pedagogy is a dynamic process—one that must constantly evolve its methods, aims and media." Ines Weizman, Head of PhD Programme, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, UK

"Methodologically speaking, Architectural Education Through Materiality has emerged as any powerful pedagogic prototype is inclined to do: through discussion, exchange, collaboration, transposition, provocation, iteration, reflection, and proposition. This deeply reflective endeavour offers the epistemological archaeology work needed to ensure architectural pedagogies can evolve equitably and inclusively." Harriet Harriss, Dean of the School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, New York, USA

"Now, as we find ourselves in a world that begs for reconsidering the way we build, we may want to review the way we educate architects too. Hence, a book that looks back at 20th-century architectural education in a fresh and insightful manner—shifting attention from the ends to the means—seems to be timely indeed. By presenting many episodes worth studying and re-evaluating, this book not only shows how architecture was taught—it also offers a plethora of new insights and ideas for how it could be taught. In short: there is much to be learned from this book." Jasper Cepl, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany

"This welcome addition to the library on architectural education elevates the stuff of the studio, the lecture hall, the seminar, and the site visit. The question of what one could see, hear, or touch is in these pages traded for that of how students and teachers encountered and activated images, ideas, models and experiences. More than a meditation on pedagogy, this book captures a series of views on what architecture is, at precise moments, as something to impress upon its students." Andrew Leach, University of Sydney, Australia