A CURRICULUM DESIGN BASED ON THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE BOLOGNA DECLARATION: THE CASE OF COURSES ON HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE AND THEIR ASSESSMENT TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATION OF THE ARCHITECT
Universidad de Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:It is commonly known that in Spanish Architecture Schools, professional degrees have been suffering from a downplay of the classical ideal of ‘the architect as a humanist' in favour of technical specialization. Nowadays, most of the Degree Academic Plans are overly linked to professional life. This fact has brought as a result the students' lack of interest in the courses related to the History of Architecture (HA) — those that belong in the area called Architectural Composition (AC) — and especially in those regarding the Classical Period, since they do not find in them the type of knowledge that directly addresses professional needs.
Prior to the Bologna Declaration, the design of the courses on AC —Plans of '99 or '96, for instance—, was essentially based on lectures. Typically, this methodology contributes to the non-participation of the students in class, and makes them feel detached from the subject. In 2008, the establishment of a new Degree in Architecture at the University of Zaragoza —the first degree on a Spanish School of Architecture adapted to the Bologna Declaration— was a challenge in the curricular design of courses taught within AC. Bologna methodology offers the possibility to differentiate between traditional lectures (T1) and practical work —seminars (T2) and laboratories (T3)— in face-to-face classes, in this case with multiple courses of 6 ECTS each one. This was an opportunity both to leave behind the exclusivity of the lectures and to increase the time devoted to practical classes and group work.
We considered necessary to promote a synchronic view of the HA with the purpose of showing our students the relationships between the classical, the modern, and the contemporary, thus helping increase their motivation. On the one hand, T3 classes have been designed to develop comparative graphical analysis of classical/modern or classical/contemporary buildings. Drawing is the architect's essential tool when facing an architectural project, which adds to architecture students' frequent passion of drawing to foster motivation. The two most relevant case studies have been based on the comparative analysis of Ecclesiastical Architecture —for instance, the evaluation of Palladio's Il Redentore (1577) and Siza’s Church in Marco de Canavezes (1990-96) in order to understand how classical Siza’s Architecture really is—, and the exploration of the evolution of museums —for instance, the case of Museo del Prado in Madrid from Villanueva's first design (1785) to Moneo’s extension (2008)—. On the other hand, T2 classes provide the possibility to include readings and foster discussion with students in class time. To this purpose, we select articles covering the same topic but written in different periods, such as Palladio’s The four books on Architecture (1508-1580) and Argan's Renaissance and Baroque (1987), as a way to make students understand that architectural literature, even when dealing with the classical periods, evolves over time.
To sum it up, we could argue that this curriculum design used the tools provided by Bologna as a way to increase students' regard and motivation on HA, so as to make incoming architects understand that History can be as much a source of design strategies as those subjects that deal with construction, structural analysis or energetic efficiency. This methodology has been run thanks to the Teaching Innovation Project developed by the University of Zaragoza (PIIDUZ_11_3_572).
Keywords: History of Architecture, Architectural Composition, Motivation, Tool, Metodologhy, Bologna.