Learning

How do we learn to architecture? All living organisms 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.

 

Learning is the process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviours, skills and values. How can we share this knowledge and skills with younger and not so young architects while creating new knowledge?

Compulsory learning tends to destroy 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. Teachers are conduits in the vast collective intelligence network. Some fundamental skills to help us become architects today we can only acquire from each other, in a carefully designed collective process. Learning to architecture is an intimate, solitary process, and a collective, social endeavour, at the same time. Our pedagogical approach is based on this apparent contradiction.


-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. These techniques we could very unlikely discover alone, it would take too much time, or it would never happen at all.


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. You learn the most when you get lost and you know how and when to find your way.

-Most of the time, in a design process, 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 think they 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.


Where and where do we learn.

-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.

Search questions

As a consequence of our search as architects, we also produce understanding and knowledge made of words -written and spoken. This search revolves around twelve constant themes, questions we don’t have a definitive answer to yet. This knowledge is not just a by-product of our activity, but rather an instrumental part that develops simultaneously and is imbricated in building. Search Questions is our sisyphean effort to organize and share this knowledge while it's blossoming, fragile and unstable. By doing so, a more specific understanding, and more refined questions emerge.

BOOK
1. Pequeñas Cabañas BIY

An exploration on children's innate drive and ability to build, and some huts that they can build together with grown-ups. Published by Editorial Gustavo Gili.

Speech
2. Endless beginnings

Graduation Ceremony. AAA. Aarhus, Denmark. September 2020.

Journal paper
3. OE House

ARQ 94. Universidad Católica de Chile. With Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau.

Paper
4. Open Process Ecosystems

Beyond Product Platforms for multi-storey habitats design and manufacturing. With Duncan Maxwell.

Article
5. Subrural

An incipient theory of the subrural, first published in Catalan in AT magazine, edited by Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau.