Not directed specifically to Tokyo but held in Tokyo was the IAES (International Architectural Education Summit) the last weekend assembled by Hitoshi Abe on the subject of how to educate the global architect. I was there on the second day that centered around the three main discussions including additional lectures and introductions by renowned architects and representatives for respected schools mainly from Japan, USA, Spain and France. India, China and Korea was also represented among others although quite few from Europe and both South America and Africa was absent.
The tree subjects for discussion was: 1. Teaching and practicing architecture in a globalized world by practicing architects with parallel research 2. Relations between local and global developments in architectural education with mainly academic researchers and school managers and 3. The future of architectural education with a mix of teachers, school representatives and active professionals. I will just list some of the interesting points that were lay out during the discussions as I remember them.
Hitoshi Abe brought up the existing gap between possibility and reality where the architects fragile visions of the future are torn to pieces in the attempts to realize them. Riken Yamamoto effectively illustrated the gap with an interesting project gone very far in the design-process that was suddenly rejected by the initiators to the benefit of a "ordinary" villa-style house that we all seem to recognize from before. Architecture is connected to history, existing social systems and the local culture and architects always must strive to overcome the will to reproduce past experiences he concluded.
Mark Wigley pointed out three important skills that a student should learn: "Absorb a high density of diverse information (preferrably not architecture-related) in order to combine it", "Mobility - the skill to be a tourist in one's own city", "Fragility/Sensitivity - to give the possibility of viewing our world differently"
The last talk had three topics to think about presented by Prof. Onoda (Tohoku University): "Strategies against Abstractions", "How do we reduce the gap?" and "How do we preserve local diversity in the globalized world?". Kengo Kuma stated that we need to go beyond the abstract to the materialized, by making ideas real we can make people see their qualities and reduce the gap. "The universities should produce knowledge firsthand, not people" said Alexandro Sacha Poro who made several bold statements. "The two ruling schools of education are the Polytechnic and the Liberal Arts and within the last decade our focus has been on the latter" and "The studio is the wrong way if we want to go deep into a subject"