There are 45 RIBA validated schools of architecture in the UK and 5 RIAI accredited schools of architecture in Ireland.

Each year thousands of Part 2 architecture students graduate from these schools.

Throughout their study, the work of these students takes place within the confines of their chosen school’s facility. Each school is like an island, inhabited by its students. And whilst there might be lively debate, differing approaches, or common themes occurring within a given school, it may often act as a closed system, a self-sufficient processing plant for aspiring architects.

As a result, the similarities or differences between these schools often go unnoticed, unchallenged or uncelebrated. In fact, the only time many schools are referred to one another is when they are in competition, in league tables or award ceremonies that take place within the yearly cycle of student output.

This project aims to reconcile these disparate groups, by establishing connections between the schools with regard to attitudes, approaches, ways of teaching and learning. This will be done by taking selected student works out of the isolation of the school environment, and re-placing them within the broader context of current architectural education throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Defining elements of ‘Context’ :

  1. an exploration of trends in architectural education
  2. the exposure of emerging students’ work, and their influence from tutors
  3. interrelating lines of enquiry between different schools – taking the work out of the ‘every school is an island’ context and bringing it into the national context [the opposite of looking at studio works in isolation]
  4. making a selection of work that is based on common subject-orientated agendas, rather than generic excellence.

The future scope of context

With each year of graduates, ‘Context’ has the potential to be repeated annually. Each year, a new thread would be identified, and the work selected would reflect this. Given the potential for an annual recurrence of this project, this would enable a much more informed view of emerging inter-school trends in students’ work and teaching practices.

As a result, ‘Context’ could ultimately form a resource documenting the development of trends and changes in contemporary architectural education.

The selection of the subject matter will be informed by the perceived trend of subjects being researched, when visiting the schools. the intention is to make the curation of the project relevant to this year. However, for practical reasons we have preselected the subject dichotomy of “drawing by hand / drawing by computer” as our preferred premise for the curatorial exercise.

  1. drawing by hand / drawing by computer – and relationship to thinking
  2. realism / fantasy – in architect education
  3. narrative
  4. for humans / not for humans – fundamental architectural dichotomy
  5. green architecture / not green architecture