Saturday, July 05, 2003

Architecture Studies

I am at the end of my second week in the Option III architecture program at University of Oregon, and am so far impressed with the overall quality of the program.

I am also struck by a few things. One is what seems as a tendency to servility and wanting to please the instructor. We are after all paying them good money to learn (a) the skills needed in later professional work, and (b) what aligns with our personal passions and interests. We are not here to please anybody except ourselves and possibly future employers. If we have a strong interest, that should take priority - not the personal interests of the instructor.

The other - which I knew about in advance - is the absence (for the most part) of an emphasis on ecological design principles. The rationale is that we can include it later, which is to some extent true. Still, it gives the impression that aesthetics and responding to the "program" (the design specifications) takes priority, and ecological principles can be attached as an afterthought. A large number of students here express a strong interest in ecological design. To me, the rationale above - expressed by some instructors - appears to be a (poor) excuse for their lack of competence in that area. An area vital to humanity in our critical ecological situation.

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