The Studio and The City: Notes on Architectural Pedagogy

The Studio and The City

Kenny Cupers | (IN)formal LA: The Space of Politics, 2014

The pedagogical history of the architecture studio has yet to be written. But one of the things it would likely reveal — apart from an oscillation between the autonomy of the studio as a place of production and its engagement with the dynamics of the built environment at large — is the sheer proliferation of pedagogical approaches over the past decades, from formgenerating coding and ecological performance calculation to casting concrete and building emergency shelters.

Despite the plethora of experimentation, studio pedagogy today still lacks one crucial dimension: an engagement with the concrete spatial realities of the world around us. In my view, the vitality of architecture — both as a discipline and as a profession —hinges upon this. Even design-build and community-based studios, which often do a terrific job of incorporating experiential learning and social awareness into design research, display little patience with understanding a site prior to the framing device that is design intervention. The fact that this problem can be described in such enormously general terms is only a sign of the poverty that confronts us in thinking through it today.

Image © Victor J. Jones