Volume 45: Learning mainly focuses on alternative methods of learning. But what about the impressive machinery called school and education already in place? What is its presence globally and what are major developments? For his second contribution to this Volume issue, Leonardo Dellanoce dove into statistics and reports on national, regional and global education, with the intention to draft a global map. This proved far more complicated and time consuming than hoped for, yet some valuable insights were found along the journey.
Refugee camps are, by definition, meant to be temporary. Yet in Palestine refugee camps have existed for well over half a century, and architecture plays an exceptionally symbolic role. Every stone set is a representation of permanence and undermines the refugee’s political existence as such. Within these constraints, DAAR members were asked to design a girl’s school in the Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The architectural result is a statement about life in exile and a vision beyond the tired dialectic of temporariness and permanence.
Back closer to the turn of the decade, OMA/AMO was invited to help found Strelka, a new pedagogical initiative in Moscow that sought to erase the distinction between academic and practical knowledge. The glove seemed to fit the hand perfectly, seeing as how AMO has expanded the limits of architectural practice and application of research into ever-new territories ever since it began. Now that it’s been taken off, we invited Reinier de Graaf to reflect about what it was like to actually put the glove on. What we got back was instead a high personal mediation on gloveness and the motives behind putting them on.
Radical Pedagogies is a project of collective intelligence. In that respect it is a scholarly and pedagogical experiment in its own right that questions traditional models of academic authorial production. It delves into the largely uncharted territory of extra-large collaborative projects that source expertise from a global network of scholars – a model with a large history in the academic fields of the sciences but rarely the humanities. Radical Pedagogies seeks to present a horizontal cut through architectural education throughout the second half of the twentieth century – a history of which, or multiple histories, has yet to be written.
The 2013 film The Competition follows an employee from Jean Nouvel office, a ‘head of projects’, navigating his level on the pyramidal scheme of organizing conventional contemporary architecture offices. (1) The image of this man, suffering the pressure of the genius-boss, trying to respond to deadlines with the effort of sufficiently trained and motivated young architects working behind him, neatly draws one of the professional glass ceilings that most accredited architects can expect in their working life.
In 2000, the so-called ‘Millennium Development Goals’ were adopted by the UN, one of which was primary education for all. This was in the wake of the post-historical years that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which a ‘Yes, we can!’ mentality was present (long before we had even heard of America’s first black president). Poverty, famine, malaria, and more – all problems that we can and should solve as global community; that was the spirit. In light of the program, this year’s results have been evaluated. Some goals prove to be tough, but education scores rather well. Not yet 100%, but if we can believe UN statistics, today 93% of all children between 6 and 12 receive primary school education.
While education is currently under financial and ideological pressure, learning is flourishing. Learning is not a self-contained period of time and place in which we magically transform into adults, but rather a life-long condition, a process that now permeates everywhere and everything at all times. For some learning is a luxury, yet for others it’s an economic necessity. Learning can be a tool of social liberation, but also one of financial subjugation and political oppression. In this issue of Volume, we’re thinking about what it means to learn: how it happens, where, by what, for whom, and why. Learning points us in a direction and gives us tools; does it also teach us how to use them and make a move?