Architects in Formation: The Relation Between Education, Research and Practice

Anders Bergström

Project Period: 2012-2013
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Critical Historiography


This project explores the relation between education, research and practice within architecture culture, focusing especially on the role of education in socialising the professional architect. The project aims at an instrumental understanding of this relation and holds that education, research and practice can not be fully understood, unless treated as a system. The focus on education is crucial because of the pedagogical and epistemological questions that are constantly raised in that situation, earlier neglected in similar studies of Swedish architecture culture. Sweden serves here as a case study, but the project is set in an international perspective.

The formation of architects combining pedagogical and epistemological perspectives with professional practice is evident already in Vitruvius and his first chapter on the architectʼs education. During the Renaissance the profession was defined according to this Vitruvian approach, later further developed at the École des Beaux-Arts. Although heavily criticised by the Arts and Crafts and the Modern Movement, the Vitruvian tradition was never thoroughly abandoned. Thus, during the 20th century, the integration of modern research in architectural education was evidently a complicated task. In Sweden, architectural research grew from the welfare programme, initiated in the 1930ʼs. While the curricula at Swedish schools of architecture during the formative post-war years developed towards a pedagogy based on empirical research, according to the Harvard model, the 1960ʼs paradoxically marked the beginning of a new era, characterised by a reorientation towards history, theory and criticism. The subsequent development of preservationist strategies characterised the material results of a new approach to architectural research and education, still relevant today, but now challenged by different social situations together with rapid urban development.

To conclude, this project aims at an instrumental understanding of the systematic relation between education, research and practice, elaborated through historical and pedagogical as well as epistemological perspectives. The project relates to one of the sub areas of Architecture in Effect and serves as a theoretical and methodological development of that area.

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications