The transformation of architectural pedagogy towards a new model for architectural education at universities of technology in South Africa.
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Architectural education and practice in democratic South Africa have been challenged to respond to broad national imperatives which have completely transformed the educational and professional legislative frameworks that govern the architectural profession. Two key objectives emerged out of the transformation agenda: Spatial transformation and socioeconomic redress. This posed challenges to architectural education, while at the same time presented many new opportunities for universities of technology to develop their unique and distinctive identities. However, the main criticism of architectural education at universities of technology is that its historic strengths of technology transfer and widened access, have been surrendered in favour of adopting curricula and pedagogic approaches of the traditional universities. Industry and the traditional universities are of the opinion that universities of technology should continue with a technology focused curriculum. The universities of technology have generally reacted to this criticism by spending time and energy on conceptualising curricula with a science and technology focus. The main argument of the thesis, however, is that architectural education at universities of technology has to build on its historic strengths while enhancing knowledge transfer to the benefit of society; this cannot be confined in any narrow definition of a science and technology curriculum. The definition of technology is asserted as a cultural construct and therefore cannot exist as distinctly separate to the artistic creativity required of architecture. Artistic creation, however, cannot be isolated in the ‘silo’ of studio production, but must emanate from socially engaged processes. The thesis explores the historic influences on architectural education to understand the reasons for the current state of architectural education at universities of technology in South Africa. Various theoretical positions and ideologies on education, architectural pedagogy and learning space development are critically analysed in the form of an extensive literature review. This is supported by empirical research and case studies in order to determine the unique and distinctive characteristics of architectural education at universities of technology, and their value to context and society. The synthesis of the critical research culminates in a new conceptual model for architectural education in South Africa, which is based on the principles of neo-humanism, defined by contextual responsiveness through the constant engagement of unit-subjective realities with the collective- society realities in a transformative, participatory pedagogic paradigm.
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