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New Schools of Thought (NeST) - Architectural education in times of homogenisation

Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, March 2015 until May 2017 (finished)

Coordinator

Institute of Architecture and Planning

Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction

Field of Research

Architectural Design Theory

Description

The research project NeST (New Schools of Thought) investigates tendencies in the context of academic homogenisation within European architectural education. It defines a new school of thought as a set of ideas and opinions on new methods of knowledge creation and on new forms of knowledge transfer, that a group of people dedicated to architectural design and spatial planning share about architectural education. Even though there is evidence of their emergence since the 1980s in Europe, there is a lack of understanding of the concepts that characterise these new schools of thought and the tendencies that drive them.

Since the late 20th century architectural education in Europe has been reshaped by key factors such as new policy regulations, internationalisation, social and climatic transformation processes, and digitalisation. This context has led to the emergence of a few trends in architectural education, which NeST identified as (1) a common need to close the gap between (a) academia and practice, (b) public awareness and financial support, and (c) architectural practice and pedagogical education; (2) the inability to find a language for architecture; (3) scientfication and digitalisation weakening the quality of architecture as physical and embodied matter; (4) scientification; and (5) commercialisation.

Within these tendencies architectural institutions have been seeking ways to differentiate themselves from the masses through content, methods of knowledge creation and transfer, and shifts in organisational structure. However, schools are no longer the only privileged place for thinking. New sites of knowledge production and reflection have arisen, giving way to new types of schools of thought. Besides (1) higher education, NeST also identified (2) secondary education, (3) research and (4) public mediation as expanded fields of architectural education.

Especially its environments are closely linked with the educational model and the character of a school of thought. These environments included, on the one hand, the physical environment (architecture, urban space), but also the socio-cultural environment in which the cases are operating, as well as the political and economic influences they are exposed to. In this phase, we questioned the impact of these environments on the educational model and thus the nature of a school of thought.

First findings show, on the one hand, that the environment influences the educational model of the school of thought and thus characterizes its nature (the educational model as a reaction to an environmental force). On the other hand, the schools of thought also use their surroundings deliberately to develop their educational model and thus the character of their school of thought (designing or making use of the environment for the educational model).

NeST identified especially four characteristics: (1) They embody freedom and independence, which they consciously use to promote autonomy and responsibility. (2) They think and act entrepreneurially in order to organise their (educational) projects and creatively use their environment. (3) They use strategic partnerships to teach and communicate interdisciplinarily and application-oriented. (4) They are processoriented and not result-oriented to promote creative processes.

The findings acquired by NeST during the two year course of research aim at, on the one hand, contributing to the contemporary academic discourse in architecture and, on the other hand, to the prerequisites for the formation of schools of thought.

Reference to Liechtenstein

Auf der Ebene der Vorbildung wurde die Architekturausbildung in Liechtenstein im Rahmen von sieben Workshops mit zwei Liechtensteiner Schulen (Primar- und Realschuleebene) unterstützt, um Schüler und Schülerinnen, Lehrerpersonen und Eltern für den gebauten Raum zu sensibilisieren. Im Rahmen der Hochschulausbildung flossen die Forschungsergebnisse in die Weiterentwicklung des Instituts für Architektur und Raumentwicklung ein.

Sponsor

  • Forschungsförderungsfonds der Universität Liechtenstein

Partner

Publications

  • V. Kaps & P. Staub (Eds.). (2018). New Schools of Thought - Augmenting the field of architectural education. Zürich: Triest Verlag.

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  • P. Staub, V. Kaps & Papathanasiou G. (Eds.). (2016). New Schools of Thought, Challenging the frontiers of architectural education. Vaduz: Liechtenstein.

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  • Kaps, V., Martinez-Cañavate, C., De Walsche, J., & Soolep, J. (2017). New Schools of Thought - An investigation on tendencies in architectural education. In M. Courceiro da Costa, F. Roseta, J. Pestana Lages & S. Couceiro da Costa (Eds.), Architectural Research Addressing Societal Challenges: Proceedings of the EAAE ARCC 10th International Conference (EAAE ARCC 2016) (pp. 859-866). Lisbon: CRC Press.

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  • Kaps, V. (2016). Another Hypothetical Conversation. In P. Staub, V. Kaps & G. Papathanasiou (Eds.), New Schools of Thought - Challenging the Frontiers of Architectural Education (pp. 25-28). Vaduz: Universität Liechtenstein.

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  • Kaps, V., Martinez-Cañavate, C., de Walsche, J., & Soolep, J. (2016). Trends in Architectural Education. In P. Staub, V. Kaps & G. Papathanasiou (Eds.), New Schools of Thought - Challenging the Frontiers of Architectural Education (pp. 21). Vaduz: Universität Liechtenstein.

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  • Kaps, V., Martinez-Cañavate, C., de Walsche, J., & Nagibina, E. (2016). 17 Cases. In P. Staub, V. Kaps & G. Papthanasiou (Eds.), New Schools of Thought - Challenging the Frontiers of Architectural Education (pp. 8-15). Vaduz: Universität Liechtenstein.

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  • Staub, P., Kaps, V., Martinez-Cañavate, C., Nagibina, E., & Papathanasiou, G. (2016). What is a New School of Thought for You? In P. Staub, V. Kaps & G. Papthanasiou (Eds.), New Schools of Thought - Challenging the Frontiers of Architectural Education (pp. 19). Vaduz: Universität Liechtenstein.

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  • Kaps, V., & Martinez-Cañavate, C. (2017). New Schools of Thought - An investigation on tendencies in architectural education. , Lisbon, Portugal.

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  • Kaps, V. (2016). New Schools of Thought - A case study analysis on environments in architectural education. Paper presented at the Vom Baumeister zum Master, Formen der Architekturlehre vom 19. bis ins 21. Jahrhundert, Freie Universität Berlin.

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  • Kaps, V., Staub P., & De Walsche, J. (2016). Challenging the frontiers of architectural education. archithese(2.2016), 59 - 71.

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