One of the challenges of teaching architectural practice in the modern era is to architecture engage students with real practice. Complicating this is the fact that the face to face lecture is increasingly a thing of the past. More of often this is done in the class room where the Practice Lecturer attempts to convince and persuade the students that the lecturer is the font of all knowledge and experience. This is how I started of teaching the subject. There face to face lectures were full of wonderful war stories, solo sea shanty’s, and other various tales about my life in practice working for architects, dealing with builders and also working for myself. I used to bring in specialist lecturers as we trudged our way through the syllabus. Of course as time went on, over a number of years, less and less students turned up to my face to face lectures. No one wanted to hear about my life and times as a practitioner. Why would they ?
The classes also become much bigger and bigger (in fact this year I have 320 students). Neo-university regimes, students who want subject content rather than discipline based learning, the rise of social media all means that these days architecture students want their learning delivered differently. And I mean delivered. Many students, hemmed in by other work and financial commitments, just want to come to the class, quickly figure out what they need to know, what boxes they need to tick and what they need to do to pass.
So long for the long languid apprenticeship style of learning how to be an architect.
The above confluence of factors has led to the situation where architecture students are increasingly removed from the narratives of architectural studio experience. This year, as in past years, we are employing a fantastic group of tutors who are with a lot of experience.
This year in an effort to keep it real and bridge the gap we have organised the students to visit actual practices in and across my small city on the outer edges of the architectural galaxy. As a result, we have 20 or so practices who were willing to be involved and I would like to thank everyone of them. It was great to have such a generous response from practices in Melbourne ! The practices involved are as follows:
So I would like to thank all the practices who generously offered their time and were involved in this effort. The response from practice was overwhelming and I will try to organise more events like this. Melbourne really does have some of the best Architectural Practices in the World.
A special thanks to our Senior Piret Veeroja for facilitating this as well as a shout out to all our tutors this year Sonia Sarangi, Emma Templeton, Rob Polglase (who also facilitated a few practices), David Walker, Aurelia Gachet and Camilla Tierney of Bates Smart, Norman Day and David Walker. As well as, Nurul Sedek and Meng Hau Siow of BY Architecture. Not too forget Rowan Brown. You can follow the subject at Instagram @msdarchiprac. I would also like to thank K2LD architects for their hospitality towards me.