Learning

How do we learn to architecture? All animals learn all the time. Some are aware of it, some are not. Humans gather and organise meaningful experiences so this learning can happen faster. Learning is not separate from doing, but some kinds of learning are more effective when presented in a reflective and engaging experience that has some practical and critical purpose.

 

Compulsory learning destroys curiosity, and teaching institutions are not a guarantee that what people supposedly learn in them make life any better. Humans learn most things by themselves. And yet we need teachers. Good teachers. Because learning with them is simply easier, and we can get to places we wouldn’t be able to reach alone. Some fundamental skills to help us become architects today we can only acquire from each other, in a carefully designed process. This is what we do together with younger learners and colleagues at the Aarhus Arkitektskolen.

-Learning is acquiring knowledge, awareness, skills or techniques that previously were not present in us, or we were not aware that were in us, or were dormant.

What is learning to architecture?

-It is both improving our innate ability to build in order to live better or survive, and acquiring a vast set of techniques to make this possible.


How do we learn: walking

-There’s no teaching without mutual learning. Teaching is a pedagogical adventure where we cultivate, reflect and share our experience in architecture, and learning to architecture, in a constant dialogue with older and younger generations, with what’s lost and what’s yet to be thought.  A light bag of hands-on knowledge we carry and reload from place to place. It is shared online, but also in dialogues, workshops and studios all over the world.

-Why walking?

-Walking as a slow, step by step, but continuous experience, is the pace of living in, with and for a territory. It is a synchronic rhythm to a design process. When going for a walk, you can get lost. You need to know your territory, your field, to make your way. You learn by observation, to consciously and unconsciously identify and understand what makes your path. Sometimes it is good to have a map to help you when you get confused.

-Most of the time, you get lost not because of space, but because of time: a plan and construction process is so complex and sometimes the pace is so broken, that it is key to keep track of the way, to find a rhythm, and even remember why you took a certain decision and discarded some others. Most designers experience that, in fact, it is while walking that fruitful ideas are born. Although it is very important to know how to sit down and concentrate on developing a design process, it is equally important to learn by walking, alone or with company.But most importantly: design is only a part of architecture. Most architecture is done walking: when gathering sources, when building.  Most architects design sitting down. But that’s just a myopic approach. You never stop designing, with your whole body, by conscious, unconscious and non-conscious processes.


What do we learn: to architecture.

Architecture is also and mainly a verb.


-What is unschooling?

-Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in the education of each unique child.

-Sometimes these stays are short, only a few hours -dialogues-, a few days -seminars and workshops-, or even a few months or years -studios.


A WALKING ARCHITECTURE UNSCHOOL

-A school that is not on a constant journey is no school at all.

-How could an architecture school be?

Under construction

-Constantly under-construction, physically and mentally. Hands-on learning, where classrooms and workshops are one. Learning from doing, learning from thinking, learning from living.


Facing real challenges

-Working hand in hand with local communities, in order to open new ideas and solve practical issues. It is not by isolating learners from real problems that we can achieve a more effective learning experience, but rather identifying and choosing constructive tensions and constraints.


A big team

-A community that enjoys to architecture, a collective that finds joy in building, where each individual talent is reinforced as part of a group that respects different individualities.


Bare and frugal

-Barely a building, as open as climate and critters allow it.


Naturalia

-Learning from nature. As we are part of it, we learn from the nature of trees, soil, rivers, clouds, sun, other animals, all their complex interrelations, and from our inner nature, our struggles, mistakes, conflicts, misunderstandings and dreams.


More life

-A living environment. Ever growing, creating more life than before it came to the place.