A small indulgence… with some TU Delft thrown in for good measure

permit me to get…. een beetje persoonlijk

Ok, that means a little personal, for the non-Dutch readers out there.

This is my blog, so I am going to indulge a little, just once for the time being.

I have been thinking a lot about where I’m at, where I see myself in the world. and how what i do in this world is valued, too.

no, its not a midlife crisis arrived early.

rather, the reason for this reverie is that the age I am now is the age when my father was cruelly taken from this mortal coil (courtesy of a freak industrial accident).

this situation forces me to reflect a little…

what have I achieved?

and where are we all at? are we all really doing any better than 25 years ago?

I certainly think that my father had achieved a lot. and that was without the cosy, dulling comforts of modern technology and all that it brings.  he lived in a time without Twitter, blogs, FB, email – these “props” by which we claim to have relationships in this day and age. not one of his relationships was the result of anything but his commitment to the other person – family member, work colleague, church friend, sailing buddy.

Of course, our digital props can be very successful for us. i personally have been able to meet up with new people on my research trip because of contacts made via FB and Twitter, and they’ve proven to be worthwhile, interesting contacts.

But i wonder where these digitally enhanced relationships leave us when we come to the classroom, the studio, the lecture theatre, the tutorial session: to the educational relationship.

At TU Delft, where I have spent the past couple of days for my research project Build/Ability, I have seen the power of  face to face educational relationships – the studio space hard at work. the students here have wholeheartedly embraced the opportunities of having a stable, functional and useful studio space as the backdrop for their learning. they have not quite taken up full residency, but the plethora of spaces, the technical and support facilities, in house library and seamless flow of cafes, model workshops and studios encourages total immersion.

With total immersion comes the opportunity to talk freely of design integration, because this teaching approach mirrors the interrelated nature of the learning spaces, the layered and varied student / staff relationships, and most importantly, the desire to present architectural practice as an acceptable past time, not an embarrassment to the academy.

There is much to be learned back home – we should stop talking about student to staff ratios for a while and instead start talking about student to dedicated studio space ratios.

We might then see the germination of some real educational and professional relationships too.

 

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