The debate on the which pedagogy is the best to define the ETSAM’s new curriculum or Study Plan occurs now at an adequate and promising level, perhaps for the first time, to overcome the usual adhesions to the “school system” that have burdened the educational reforms of the processes above.

My assessment is therefore very positive and even encouraging.

The reflections, even early proposed schemes (as that of Dario Gazapo for projects) are efficient and guarantee, in my opinion I repeat, an itinerary consistent with the objectives and commitments of a new curriculum or Study Plan in the Directive’s framework.

I must add an inscription about the “contents” that are being outlined and other relevant aspects of the corresponding “container”.

Firstly, discern what these mean for me:

Teaching: Deductive methodology by which information is transmitted. The first agent being the teacher or professor.

Learning: Inductive methodology by which the student increases his/her knowledge induced by exercising additive practices. Agents are teachers and students, with a work quantitatively supported on students and qualitatively on teachers.

Training or Formation: Constructive methodology. The student makes or builds up a “construct” enabled to respond to any productive problem from wherever it may come. The central character is the student; the teacher is just a process’ mentor.

Within this scheme, which obviously has overlapping areas, it could be framed, also in a perhaps somewhat simplistic manner, the training within the students’ productive territory based on their graphic-projection or design practice. This area would include the architectural and urban project subjects, also and very specially, their training on the graphic-plastic instruments for space and shape modelling (graphic ideation, generation of an idea) and, in a convenient way, the productive, beyond disciplinary, experiences with the technical subjects in shared workshops where the students experience the disciplinary heteronomy on the architectural production in the project process’ initial decisions.

Another area would include subjects essentially involved in the architectural project, assisting with the knowledge contributed to it, the practices made upon the project by the students to his/her own formation and giving the necessary theory-critic substrate for the training in the 
Students’ ability to evaluate themselves.

Obviously in this vision of overlapping which I here claim, the productive area shall be equipped with its own theoric-critic base, not only on the foundations coming from the discipline but also those which are the projection or design techniques own.

The projects’ scheme submitted by Dario Gazapo guarantees what has been said. First of all, because it’s possible to add the Architectural Project, the Urban Project, the DA1 and DA2 credits, just as stated before, and it also contemplates that area of production beyond disciplines with informative subjects in joint workshops that conclude firmly in the PFC.

Secondly, I raise some thoughts on the process and on the own foundations of the work in progress. A studies’ program undertaken with contemporary problems must claim the commitment to the environment as an objective for the architect’s training. I am going beyond: I think that it should be the core to define the architects’ work social utility, as mediator holistically capable of intervening in the environment’s urgent recovery; adding and articulating as a cultural and technical speaker (in this multidisciplinary work implied in the human environment’s construction), the inevitably partial effort of the remaining technical and social agents.  The redaction of this essential definition, heading the school’s curriculum is a task for all departments and especially of the groups that have been heroically working on this problem for years, inside and outside the school.

I miss, as in previous occasions, the omission of which should be essential educational material (and much more within the objectives the Decree granted to our certification or title), and specifically the support of social and human sciences, anthropology, sociology, human geography, ergonomics, etc. for programming it in the area of the subjects that inform the productive practice of the architectural design and urban planning projects.

The Study Plan should be flexible in general, but especially in two components. First, on its ability to have adjustable settings and partial modifications, proposing a period of 3 to 5 years after the first graduates for its review. Secondly, to incorporate the new ways of the profession’s practice, that have, today, already exceeded the classic territory of the discipline.

Not to thwart the orientation given from the Rectorate, Academic Council, etc., for the Plans’ design, claiming the Department as an intercom instrument of the pedagogic action, the scientific knowledge and the transfer of technology among interrelated centers.

Finally, an appropriate scheduling of these areas should learn from the stressful past, which has logically but irrationally always overlapped the pedagogy of the architectural design practice and urban areas with the subjects that aid the project, both technical and in theory-critics, and that (besides not capitalizing pedagogy given in one another) stress the final quality of academic periods with the coincidence of hand-ins, exams, etc.

A harmonious coordination from the point of view of pedagogical effectiveness, should step up in time and skill, for example, technical, theory and critic teaching in the first part of the quarter to significantly mitigate it on other the half of it, releasing, one month for example, to enhance the practical design, which started symmetrically dimmed. This would allow to apply the knowledge taught in the technical and critics area to the further intensification of the design, so to carry out (during the technical and critics dimmed period) the desired projects, structure, construction, installation, aesthetics, etc., workshops. A final optimization of this strategy would be obtained by reducing the time devoted to evaluations to its possible minimal (its suppression desired) in exchange of a continuous parallel assessment for all subjects and practices.

Madrid, February 2009