Literary Dose #12
"The causes of the malaise in the architectural profession may be traced back to education. Four weeks into first year and students are exposed to the barbarity of the review/crit/jury. Power, hormones, fear, vanity, genius, and individuality form a rich mix that sets the ethos for what is to come. Architectural education is still guided by the Victorian values of the (male) individual genius architect silently supplying aesthetic delights for rich patrons. The Rural Studio explicitly challenges these paradigms. It champions collaboration, communication, and process over product. It exposes students to a range of issues that they are sheltered from in normative architectural education -- group working, social responsibility, lateral thinking, building skills, new ways of building procurement, sustainability, contingent creativity. But at the same time one should not get too misty-eyed and see it as a completely non-authoritarian structure. Mockbee and his successors are far from shrinking violets; one needs this overarching vision (and it is vision, not mindless control) to avoid the work descending to a level of worthy mediocrity, as so easily could have happened."- Jeremy Till and Sarah Wigglesworth, originally published in Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio: Community Architecture, edited by David Moos and Gail Treschel (2003) and reprinted in Architectural Regionalism: Collected Writings on Place, Identity, Modernity, and Tradition, edited by Vincent B. Canizaro (2007).