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Listen to Duo Dickinson on Burning Down the House
by Katy Purviance on 12/04/10 @ 12:43:39 pm
Categories: Architects | 280 words | 1761 views

Listen to Duo Dickinson on Burning Down the House with Curtis B Wayne.

He is the principal of a 10-person firm in Madison, Connecticut, is a contributing writer for Money Magazine and the architecture and urban design commentator for the New Haven Register. He has taught at Yale College and Roger Williams University. His seventh book, Staying Put, will be published in 2011.

Duo Dickerson AIA recently published this fine, invigorating piece on our current architectural pedagogy.

And he says:

In the 19th century, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris provided an academic approach to architectural training that supplanted the guild system of apprenticeship with master builders that had existed since the Renaissance. This idea of an abstracted aesthetic education in how buildings are designed spread throughout Western civilization and is now the dominant paradigm. But when I entered the field, vestiges of the old system remained: it was still possible to bypass higher education altogether by pursuing a nine-year apprenticeship with a licensed architect. Those who opted for this path would take the architecture registration exam side by side with those who had a degree and three years of apprenticeship. This option no longer exists.

What has resulted is a mandatory education for those who want to be licensed architects that distills, disintegrates, and provides its own self-reinforcing echo chamber of abstracted design methodologies grounded in academic theory. Unfortunately, as soon as graduates dive into a career in architectural design, they (and those who manage them) are confronted with the fact that designing a building is a craft that has layers of design criteria that are simply not addressed in the way most architects are trained.


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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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