The afternoon panel got underway with introductions and presentation of the theme of interdisciplinarity by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Osman Demirbaş.
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Türel Saranlı spoke, sharing his experiences from his enduring career in architectural education. He argued for competency in technical topics but above all creativity of the operator–the architect. On the observation that “information is worthless, knowledge is valuable,” Dr. Saranlı described computer-generated formal explorations as “difficult to explain” for the people producing them. This points to the need for more competency and thoughtful understanding of what is produced in lieu of visually-driven designs produced by computer “operators.” He also noted the need for architects to recognize that technological solutions for architectural problems are being developed every day and that architects and educators must come to terms with such developments and define their place in the university and profession.
Next to address the group was Prof. Dr. Zūhal Õzcan, who provided a detailed summary of her research into architectural education in Turkey. She outlined the distribution of architectural design education among architecture and interior architects programs; state and private universities; and geographic distribution from eastern to western turkey. Following this, Dr. Özcan outlined her comparison of four typical curricula in schools of architecture in Turkey. Similarities between programs were numerous while differences quite few. She encouraged interdisciplinarity through collaboration with the various Chambers of respective professions; and periodically revising curricula to respond to rapidly changing technological environment.
Prof. Dr. Zūhal Ulusoy discussed interdisciplinarity briefly, and then returned to the theme of the role of design in society. Sharing her observations on design education, she remarked provocatively: “design motivates people to work for change.” And continued with the observation that changes in the way we live become areas that we adapt to in design education and practice. She also argued for the value of the design studio as an interdisciplinary, interactive space of exchange remarking: “It’s not a solution, of course, but there is probably a very promising aspect that we already have in our education models, but we don’t recognize the capacity–the design studio.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Thanos Stassinoupolos, arguing that architectural education is too theoretical and not practical enough. He compared a lack of material knowledge with the “blind faith” in what is displayed on the computer screen. According to Dr. Stassinoupolos, form is more than geometric shape. It relies on material and materials interaction with light and natural elements. Advocating “hands-on” construction as a way to convey material knowledge, he also argues that this knowledge is essential to architectural practice. Citing examples of award-winning projects from architectural competitions that present compelling imagery, but demonstrate a lack practical knowledge, he further outlined a dualism in architectural education along the lines of academic/applied, virtual/real space, mind/sense, today/future.
Following the presentations, the discussion addressed
- the suspicious “priviledging” of the architectural discipline in discussions about interdisciplinarity
- Production of knowledge and its relationship to architectural production
- The value of applied project workshops with students