Updating Architecture – beyond common teaching scheme

Restaurierung, Kunsttechnologie und Konservierungswissenschaft

In a nutshell, my conception of teaching and learning is based on the idea that education at university is pointed towards students who are mature and for whom relevance of subject matter to their chosen careers is highly valued. And my responsibility as a teacher and an educator is to create an environment where students are empowered to think critically and creatively while achieving their learning goals in a mutual process of giving and taking, and all the while benefiting from critical and constructive feedback about their work.
Empowering students to think critically and creatively acquire a specific meaning in the context of conservation and restoration of architecture. Students are called to find a novel solution to old problems beyond common knowledge.

To help students to do so is a challenge both for students and educators. This is because of, on one hand, teachers, we naturally tend to transfer our own ideas in design to students favoring specific approaches and disregarding other solutions.
While students, on the other hand, might struggle conceiving novel solutions and they find themselves more comfortable with absolute resolutions having ground in well-known theoretical premises – thus, flexible adapting those case by case to solve specific issues. This approach that in principle is not a wrong one and has been shaping generations of architects creating schools of thought which are using specific architectural languages – thus, bring a specific stamps, this, in my opinion, is something that, at times, might be obsolete.
Personally, I am more in favor of taking an open approach to teaching and learning that accounts for the challenge of guiding students though different kinds of approaches, detaching myself from my own believes in design and training students to give full justification to their choices in the face of the society that they represent and future generations, without any specific restriction.
Therefore, students are in my classes called to deal with a very challenging topic: Transmitting heritage buildings intact to future generations to experience culture by giving full justification to their choice, all the while reactivating heritage buildings into the consciousness of people by making the building to be the protagonist.
I firstly invite my students to take note of the different methodologies existing to solve the matter of concern. Then, we little by little investigate the unlike theoretical approaches by using the words of authors who conceived those theories. In fact, I believe to be detrimental to use anthologies while trying to put students in the condition of developing a personal opinion towards a theory. I consider crucial to have a direct examination of original sources aiming at maturing a critical opinion.
To guide them through this critical process of personal development of their own opinions we comment all together original texts creating a sort of dialogue where any student is participating in the discussion is adding a new and crucial piece required for fully understanding and investigating the topic.
At the end of the course students are asked to provide their own solution for a solved (i.e. the cathedral of cologne) or unsolved (i.e. Notre Dame of Paris) case study base on the newly acquired knowledge / awareness on existing theories and having stable footings into the current debate at international level.

Digital class
Looking for a dialogue
Against all theories of Ambientamento 1
©Bruno Zevi
Against all theories of Ambientamento 2
©Bruno Zevi
Against all theories of Ambientamento 3
©Bruno Zevi
Against all theories of Ambientamento 4
©Bruno Zevi