The medieval craft guilds may have long been gone, yet, entering the field of architecture often still holds something from the tradition of the master-apprentice model of education or training. Relics of this tradition can be traced, in the implicit principles of the various schools of architecture, which are usually not addressed explicitly in the curriculum or design briefs of their studios. The purpose of this conference is to present, expose, map and critically discuss the methods and norms, symbols and narratives, customs and dispositions of current practices of teaching first year design, through the term ‘initiation.’
‘Initiation’ can be understood, first of all, in a temporal basis, specifying that the conference will be focusing on the challenge of teaching design at the very beginning of architectural education. At the same time, though, the term is also rich with social or political connotations, as involving some sort of ritual or rite of passage that allows someone to enter a group. Taking a stance in relation to these two readings clearly has strong ideological implications, exposing a series of other positionings regarding not only architectural pedagogy, but the very nature of architecture as well.
Moreover, initiation in the field of architecture through the first year of education is important since it has the power to be quite formative in shaping the future professional architect. Multiple pedagogical approaches coexist, each prioritizing certain values over others, often driven by a different understanding of what the role of the profession of the architect is or should be in society. It thus seems inevitable that any discussion on educational agendas should also discuss the role of the architectural profession, especially now that professional boundaries are reassessed, diluted or even dissolved.