The new architecture of teaching lifestyle
Academic architecture requires specific spaces that are conducive to study, the concentration of research, the exchange of ideas and discussions between peers in order to generate critical thinking and enhance learning.
Large universities around the world have been incorporating digital learning for years and adapting to the requirements of technological innovation. At the same time, campuses are being renewed or extended to adapt to new realities and needs.
Today’s context has resulted in the digitalisation of spaces, meetings and areas of knowledge; however, the power of the physical presence has proven to be unequalled, and there is nothing like face-to-face verbal communication. Therefore, we need to establish a hybrid process that combines both the physical and virtual worlds. This is the conclusion drawn by the main universities as well as the architects building cutting-edge spaces for a new reality for studies. Whether self-contained campuses, campuses in nature, or urban campuses imbued with the fast-paced rhythm and changes that take place in the cities, the transformation of teaching environments is a gradual and inevitable process.
Learning to learn is the contemporary hallmark of people. University degrees and the knowledge acquired in a student’s early experiences soon become obsolete, so we need an ongoing and permanent update and, in many cases, professional changes that force us to renovate and expand our studies. Nowadays, learning entails constant evolution. We can say that teaching is forever.
Lifestyle Porcelanosa looks at two different dimensions of educational architecture: the global interconnected environment, with Nader Tehrani from his architecture studio NADAAA, and the national environment with a universal interdisciplinary outlook, with Marta Pelegrín from her studio Mediomundo Arquitectos.
NADAAA Studio, lessons in architecture and the future
Architect Nader Tehrani was the head of and professor in the MIT Architecture Department. and he is now the dean of Cooper Union and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, two institutions with a very significant educational impact in the United States.
Tehrani is one of the most insightful current thinkers on contemporary challenges through innovation and the educational dimension, where the starting point is the intersection and interrelation between subjects such as art, engineering and architecture with design as an element of cohesion of a driver of projects.
He is an illustrious thinker who points out new routes along humankind’s evolutionary path through his research as educational director at different institutions, as both a teacher and an architect.
He is the founder and director of the NADAAA architecture studio in Boston, whose architectural vision links to the sequential transformation of society and focuses on the development of new methods of interdisciplinary manufacturing and collaboration with the aim of generating a new way of building on different conceptual scales.
He has received numerous architecture awards such as the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award 2020, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the United States Artists Architecture and Design Award, among other important awards and recognitions.
In one of his latest publications, the book “My House is Better Than Your House” (Acc Art Books, 2020), he refers to a particular house in southern France as a clear example of the conservation of the rural context. His discourse unpicks the different facets with a sense of the geometric and the connection between exterior and interior.
This natural dimension is found in other architectural channels that he undertakes, following decades of work in urban planning, interior architecture, landscape and industrial design, always taking into account the handcrafted component and digital design.
Some of his most prestigious projects include university campuses, libraries and study buildings.
“The interconnection of ideas and the growth of the person through education must be reflected in the architecture and in the different spaces that define an educational centre. Strengthening the students’ critical and experiential sense entails a great responsibility; not only are they our future professionals, but also the people who form and shape our society and the future. At NADAAA, in-depth research into the context and environment is the first step in planning a build”, Nader Tehrani told Lifestyle.
Marta Pelegrín co-founded the Mediomundo Arquitectos studio with Fernando Pérez. It is a personal project that began after she worked at the Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos studio, where she collaborated on various project, including leading the New Rijksmuseum project in Amsterdam.
Her architectural vision is based on a deep and sensitive exploration of the social and natural ecosystem, together with the experimentation of new materials and technologies that she implements into each project.
She has extensive teaching experience, as an associate professor in the Projects Department of the Architecture Schools of Malaga and Seville, as well as in the Master’s degree in City and Sustainable Architecture at the University of Seville, or the Master’s degree in Renewable Energies: Architecture and Urban Planning. The Sustainable City at the International University of Andalusia.
The Macarena Cybercentre in Seville is one of her most renowned projects. It is a social centre that has contributed to the social improvement of the local surroundings. It is intended for virtual connection and information, and has computer rooms and classrooms for workshops and meetings, all of which are multi-purpose and very versatile.
Another of her most prestigious projects is the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Granada. The project considers the idiosyncrasies of the place and develops its own economic, technological and cultural logic, giving special prominence to spaces for meetings and interaction.
Marta Pelegrín’s experience led her to be invited to present her work at universities and international institutions such as the Cervantes Institute in Beijing or the Montevideo Faculty of Architecture, and her papers and works have been published at international congresses and seminars. She is currently working on the renovation of the auditorium of the Bank of Spain.
“All our projects have an important social dimension, such as community cohesion in the surrounding residential areas or community cohesion for students at a specific school or faculty. All proposals take into account space in terms of the movement of people who, at a given time, work in collaboration with each other.
At the Faculty of Sciences in Granada, the spatial and programmatic project is born from optimising the urbanistic determinations of the Health Campus in order to achieve a centre for university exchanges that encompasses three degree courses (Nursing, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy). These are fundamentally open spaces for interactions and transit, and places of exchange between researchers, students and teachers”, explains Marta Pelegrín.