Is it possible to teach how to design? What is the paradigm that encloses the theoretical and applicational-experiential spheres of the architectural discipline?
Architecture is a heteronomous discipline that finds its reasons in the hybridisation and contamination of different forms of knowledge. The training of the architect, as an intellectual and a technical professional, requires a deep and radical meditation on the foundations of educational programmes, the relevance of teaching models and learning tools. The Schools of Architecture represent the realm in which the student, in Louis I. Kahn’s words, is called to meditate on whatever is exchanged and on its utility. As a place for the learning, experimentation and testing of the most advanced techniques and tools of a discipline, the institutions must necessarily open their cultural and educational project to a critical dialogue, with the prospect of expanding their horizons and international exchanges. The School, as the ultimate seat for the production and transformation of knowledge, aims at training skilled graduates in the conception, design, construction and management of architecture, who are capable of handling the complexity of design understood as a synthesis of skills. The polytechnic approach is the key for shaping recognisable and specific professional competences, at the same time complementary and synergic, within an evolving professional and production scene that requires skills and tools aimed at networking, flexibility and dealing with change in the contemporary world. The dialogue between two brilliant institutions in the European context, sharing a polytechnic approach, the School of Architecture Urban Planning Construction Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano (AUIC) and the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (ETSAM) provides an opportunity for meditation aimed at triggering an active and productive discussion about the methods and tools of teaching architecture.