education cf practice

Talking to my colleague Khoa Do a few days ago, I was reminded of a commonplace point of tension between practitioners and educators in architecture schools. The former are keen to see 'ready' workers graduating, but the latter feel there is insufficient practitioner involvement in the development of courses. Khoa, a lecturer at Curtin University (Perth), who was once also a student of mine, recently ran a conference at Ho Chi Min City Architecture School in Vietnam about Urban Housing there, his specialty. However Robert Winter, another Australian architect attending, did not agree on a learing and teaching balance - between experimental design experience, capacity to work autonomously, and well rounded architectural 'competencies'.

Ho Chi Min City Architecture School seems to be looking for ways to continually develop its curriculum, but has been Beaux Arts based, and is focussing on US architectural education models, as used in Hanoi. It will be interesting to see which way it develops there, but I felt more reassured by the Chilean and Argentinian Schools' approach to balancing the architecture curriculum.

architecture and politics

In my recent work in architectural education in Concepcion, Santiago and Buenos Aires, I was interested in staff and students' experience working between disciplines of architecture and urbanism; particularly with participation, informal settlements, and community building through design. Later, in a discussion following a piece on politics and the role of the architect on archinect, I picked up a thread with a colleague from AFP about architecture and politics and non-European traditions :
"In recognition of the fact that (the) architectural is political, Architects for Peace ( was born as an organisation (Jan, 2003). It started before the bombing of Iraq, when most of the architectural professional organisations and institutions remained silent at the prospect of the destruction of cities, civilization, heritage, architecture, ecology... and more importantly people's lives."

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