In an article in the magazine trans 28 Charlotte Malterre-Barthes writes about the ethics of architects. She stats that building comes with a responsibility which is not only concerned about economics. It comes with a political and social obligation. Some architects claim that architecture is detached from social, political and economical factors. They design for regimes with brutal dictators and in doubtful security conditions programs which are ethically questionable. Politically, viewed from the West, there are some countries which are not ethically accepted, for example countries with low democracy standards. But this facts did not keep several Western architects from building in these countries. A movement in the USA, called ‘Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility’ The members of this association refuse to design spaces which violate humane life and dignity, such as spaces for solitary confinement, torture, or cruel degrading. They claim this to be fundamentally incompatible with a professional practice that respects standards of decency and human rights. There is also a moral dilemma in working on projects which are harmful to poorer populations through gentrification. Gentrification has become a global issue that can be witnessed everywhere. Many famous architects take part in this issues with urban redevelopments. An example of gentrification is the large-scale project Europaalee with contributions by David Chipperfield, Max Dudler and Gigon/Guyer. An infiltration by financial institutions and upscale housing units leads to the destruction of the working class, immigrants, artists community. Malterre-Barthes concludes that the question of ethics concerns all architects, everywhere. When considering the type of materials used in construction, housing standards and environmental issues, the spectrum of dilemma becomes even bigger. So, an architect has to decide whether to build or not. Architects often have stood against demolition or against building. They are the prove that ethics in architecture exists.
Malterre-Barthes, C. On the Ethics of Architects: To build or not to build. In trans 28 – Zweifel (pp. 78–81).
In this article ArchDaily lists the responses of their readers to the question “what do you wish you had learned in architecture school?”
The responses are as diverse as the profession of architecture is. Many responses where about the contrariness of theory and practice. Many professionals thought that architecture education fails to prepare the students for the real world, while educators believe that the technical courses restricted the architectural theory already enough. Many commenters asked for more focus on construction detailing which, in their opinion, one has to know to design a building. Some thought that the school should teach them the technical skills whereas others had the opinion that the school should teach a greater understanding of sociology and human psychology. Some commenters said that the school should not tell the student what to think but teach them to think critically. Schools should focus more on self-guided learning and encourage initiative. Some concerns where about not knowing how to run a business and how to deal with clients.
“Created by ScanLAB, this dramatic three minute film documents the building transformation of 140 Hampstead Road in the run up to the opening of The Bartlett Summer Show 2015. ScanLAB scanned the Hampstead Road building two years ago when it was vacant and have followed its journey from being empty to being occupied, including the show spaces themselves.”
The Bartlett School of Architecture: Hampstead Road Pop-Up 2014-2016 from Bartlett School of Architecture on Vimeo.
Can you describe the ideology of your school (in five sentences?)?
The Bartlett is very much research orientated. We have many part time teachers who work four to five days a week at an office. About 1/3 of the staff is half-time and full-time academic. This brings in a sense of reality in to the academic world. So we give the students a kind of balance between the theoretical academic world and real life practice.
Diversity is very important to us, we want to have a very diverse international outlook, community, teaching faculty and student body. Because that is the thing that makes the school successful. Every single student brings his own cultural background, interest and stories from where they come from. We try our very best to diversify.
How does your work at Studio 8 influence your teaching and vice versa in terms of ideology and methods?
My work at Studio 8 which is research that is based in intellectual thinking has influenced the agenda in the unit at the Bartlett. Continue reading “Interview with CJ Lim at the Bartlett”