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ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES – Competence-based/Studio-driven curriculum
22/12/2010



Abstract
 
Over the last century, human knowledge has extremely grown. Existing disciplines started do divide to sub-disciplines, to provide education deep enough for the serious professional practice. Architecture was one of those disciplines. Depending on different reasons, professional architects started to focus on some disciplinary areas, putting others on the side. Romantic renaissance vision of “homo universalis” has been definitely lost.
 
This kind of approach caused that some of the relations between different domains of the architectural profession have lost their fine interconnections and interdependence. Without doubt, schools became one of the drivers of those processes, particularly by dividing “old-fashioned” architectural programs on “architecture”, “urban planning”, “architectural engineering”, “interior design” and accordingly main academic units (faculties or schools) on departments for “architectural design”, “architectural technologies”, “urban planning and design”, “history and theory” etc. “Thus the universities are creating cadres of specialist elites with high degrees of concentrated knowledge, who know more and more about less and less”[1].
 
This problem didn’t cause only practical, but also meta-consequences. Teachers became more specialized and focused on their subjects and research areas, and by that approach they continued to divide the basic knowledge.
To overcome this situation, instead of syllabi, learning outcomes (and competences as their professional reflection) have been recognized as the main benchmark indicators for the qualitative analysis of the contemporary study programs. Universities are working on mapping and comparing outcomes to fit in some of the accreditation criteria. 
 
Some of the research done in previous ten years[2] has shown that it is still possible to compare different architectural study programs, even 11 points from “Charter for Architectural Education”[3] have been extended to more than 60 different competences.
 
Analysis of interaction between formal (11 points) and essential (competence list) content of architectural curriculum shows us that studio, as one of the most common teaching methods should remain, or even should be further developed as a crucial approach in the architectural education.


[1] R.Foque, Building Knowledge in Architecture, University Press Antwerp, 2010
[2] E.g. ENHSA Mapping the reforms in architectural education in Europe 2003-2006
[3] UIA-UNESCO, Charter for Architectural Education, 1996

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