Opinion | The importance of construction in academia of architecture with the balance of creativity
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 23:01
Architecture is the profession of construction; construction not only of the mind through theory, but construction of physicalities. Every building constructed by an architect is a compilation of both mind and medium. Academia is where a young architect first encounters and constructs for themselves their own architecture.
Mind is often delved into quite extensively within academia through the teachings of theory and artistry. However, medium, which focuses on the way in which a building is constructed and put together, is often neglected. Ultimately the process of building becomes relegated to a subservient role in terms of educational process.
Too often are educational lessons devoid of the idea of practicality and feasibility. Instead the focus is shifted away from these aspects towards exploration, always looking to push the envelope of creative thought. As a generator of ideas this position holds much merit. It allows for the creative process to truly begin to grow and flourish without restraints; blossoming to what seems to be the fullest amount of potential. However, the whimsical nature of the creative process is often less grounded than it must be, thus creating disconnect between actual real world situations and academic scenarios.
This disconnect causes a severe degradation of a skill set that is a necessity in the field of architecture. Buildings need to be able to stand and support themselves, as well as protect their inhabitants. The concept of structure and process is key to the fundamentals aspect of architectural design, in which a building must both support itself and its inhabitants. By reintroducing the ideas of structural and process practices, it would be possible to diminish the gap and create an educated and competent student body, guided by both theory and real world knowledge. A large part of this gap can be diminished with the introduction of studio based structures and construction programs. The idea of a studio completely focused around structures may seem like a deterrent to the creative process; since it seems to hamper the mind, grounding it in facts and numbers.
However, it is actually the opposite, as the complexity of the answers to the questions of structure and construction begin to influence and create new opportunities for creativity. A complex problem always offers more of a creative solution then a simple problem.
This stems from the fact that there can be a number of iterations that can be produced, all physically possible and very creative.
By limiting the opportunities to experiment and “play” with structures and construction; it only diminishes, not enhances, the overall creativity that can be extrapolated from a project.
Thus this only hurts the student, as they are unable to fully gain the total amount of experience that each particular project has to offer.
In conjuncture with greater creativity, the amount of knowledge, that is real world working knowledge, of construction and structures, would allow the students too quickly, and effectively, harness their abilities in any given situations and prime them for a professional career. The saying “practice makes perfect” is a prime example of how the use of these types of projects can be utilized to create an intelligent workforce.
The more a person does an activity the more it becomes second nature, and the better and faster they become. In a field where 100 percent of what we do as architects is construction, or at least should be since we all strive to have things built, this will provide an ability to respond quickly and accurately to any situation that may arise.
This is an extreme advantage in a field that emphasizes the ability to get something done fast and accurately, such as constructing a building.
The incorporation of structures and construction principles, forces the student to think both inside and outside of the box simultaneously. This can create some of the most breathtaking and exciting possibilities, as it opens up whole new avenues of thought and reasoning that were previously closed. This influx of new creative thought, grounded in the physical world, will provide an edge for any person that is a student of architecture. That is why it is imperative to quickly close the gap formed by the disconnect of structures and theory, a gap which is currently growing day by day. Once closed, a new world of architecture can be created and explored, one that could shape the very foundations of society itself.