Design Knowledge Intermediary
Does architectural education "brainwash" students? Nikos A. Salingaros thinks so
Recently I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that architectural education does some very specific things to its students, and in remarkably short order:
1.) It disconnects them from their bodies....
2.) It brainwashes them.                                     — Common Edge
In a brief article on Common Edge, the University of Texas San Antonio's Dr. Nikos A. Salingaros lists five effects he's witnessed as a teacher on students, and they include disasociation from one's body, a certain brainwashing through abstraction, and an emphasis on insularity and novelty over the actual human experience of a building. As he notes:
Contemporary architecture is obsessed, to the point of arrogance, with “innovation.” But unless you’re trained to admire and revere it for its own sake (something architecture students are routinely taught), aggressive “novelty” often triggers negative reactions from everyone else: alarm, anxiety, even physio-psychological pain. Remember the poor Vitra firemen, unwitting victims of “cutting edge” architecture? That’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, as far as alienation and architecture are concerned. Once upon a time, shareable stories were embedded onto and into buildings. Today architects detach their stories and apply them instead as sales pitch, justification, explanation, excuse, argument, clarification, rationalization, even exoneration. All of it as if preaching madly to a skeptical congregation. They’re right to be worried.