Open Design Academy – VU Gebäudelehre – Ausstellung & Preisverleihung

“Detached from the ferment of epochal change, the groves of academe are failing to engage with current critical realities. Education for architects must be radically reconsidered, through a new more fully human paradigm that engages with society and culture.” – Peter Buchanan, The Big Rethink. Architectural Education, Architectural Review, October 2012

The Open Design Academy aims to challenge both the spatial and pedagogical systems of architectural education, towards being more open – in relation to the public, community and city, and more interdisciplinary – within the design disciplines in order to contribute to the urgent discourse in reshaping architectural education.

Rethinking architectural education has been an ongoing quest of many generations: to challenge, to alter, to experiment with the traditional academic systems in order to elevate the discipline at large. It has been common knowledge that redefining the existing educational models could lead to a radical change in architectural production in any context.

The recurring calls for the urgently needed redirection of architectural education towards critical planetary issues, from environmental to societal, outline the long-lasting fragility that architects should take responsibility for. Therefore, the status quo of academic curriculums should be critically assessed and examined further through the research of diverse educational environments, in which they have been or still are carried out.

The world is changing rapidly and the design profession is transforming with it. The design fields are required to address perpetually changing environmental, social, technological and economic realities. Design education and its environment should therefore provide a suitable framework for the multitude of creative responses to these urgent issues. During the last decades, the austere specialization of creative professions has drastically limited conceptual thinking and design education.

The design studio intends to return to understanding design akin to the mid-century approach promoted by the Milanese architect Ernesto Rogers – who sees the role of the designer stretching from ‘the spoon to the city’ – articulating the desire and devotion of many architects and designers to cross scales and disciplines, to cross theory and practice. The design studio aims to research and propose the Open Design Academy in order to demonstrate the potential of architecture for interdisciplinary creative learning. Sites in Vienna serves as a testing ground to facilitate a change in thinking in regard to the typology of an open educational institution for art, architecture and design. The program calls to dissolve disciplinary boundaries of architecture, art and design and therefore calls for architectural proposals with the capacity to evoke specific spatial experiences, stimulate participation and spark creative interactions among a variety of users. – Prof. Tina Gregoric