Experiments in architectural education in the post–World War II era that challenged and transformed architectural discourse and practice.
In the decades after World War II, new forms of learning transformed architectural education. These radical experiments sought to upend disciplinary foundations and conventional assumptions about the nature of architecture as much as they challenged modernist and colonial norms, decentered building, imagined new roles for the architect, and envisioned participatory forms of practice. Although many of the experimental programs were subsequently abandoned, terminated, or assimilated, they nevertheless helped shape and in some sense define architectural discourse and practice. This book explores and documents these radical pedagogies and efforts to defy architecture's status quo.
The experiments include the adaptation of Bauhaus pedagogy as a means of “unlearning” under the conditions of decolonization in Africa; a movement to design for “every body,” including the disabled, by architecture students and faculty at the University of California, Berkeley; the founding of a support network for women interested in the built environment, regardless of their academic backgrounds; and a design studio in the USSR that offered an alternative to the widespread functionalist approach in Soviet design. Viewed through their dissolution and afterlife as well as through their founding stories, these projects from the last century raise provocative questions about architecture's role in the new century.
Beatriz Colomina is Howard Crosby Butler Professor of the History of Architecture at Princeton University and the author of X-Ray Architecture and other books.
Ignacio G. Galán is Assistant Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University.
Evangelos Kotsioris, an architectural historian, architect, and Assistant Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Anna-Maria Meister is Professor of Architecture Theory and Science at Technical University of Darmstadt.
“Exploring the experimental roots, the radix, of radical pedagogies that emerged globally from the 1930s to the 1980s, this book—a timely, informative intervention on the importance of inventive education—plants the seeds for future pedagogic ecologies. The architectural histories of the 1960s and 1970s foregrounded here, which uprooted the environmental, material, political, and technological status quo, have much to teach us. It is a history lesson for the present, when pedagogic radicality faces new challenges.”
Giuliana Bruno, Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University
"Without Radical Pedagogies demonstrating how far it's possible to re-think what education could and should be, the Graduate School of Architecture in Johannesburg would have remained a pipe dream, and there would be no African Futures Institute.”
Lesley Lokko, Professor and Founder & Director, African Futures Institute, Accra
“In an impressive collection of a hundred and fourteen chapters written by some of the most exciting architectural thinkers today, Radical Pedagogies provincializes universalizing accounts of twentieth-century architectural education by weaving together histories from around the globe—from Ife to Tucumán, from Delft to Mexico City, from Warsaw to Havana, from New York City to Johannesburg. The result is a remarkably polysemous account of architecture's epistemological ambitions in the twentieth century and its claims to radical politics. Particularly striking is the role played by architectural education in postcolonial contexts. The volume not only throws light on hitherto unacknowledged actors, media, and tactics but also provides much-needed historical context for some of the discipline's most urgent debates today.”
Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Associate Professor, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University