The schism between academia and practice is an often revisited topic. Conversations invariably circle back to the idea that they are two independent entities with a conspicuous gap – lending itself to an endeavor that many are looking to bridge.
One argument springs forward that academia should relate more directly to the world of practice, offering students a much more comprehensive preparation for when they join the workforce. Most students DO feel unprepared in a work environment when they are fresh out of school. As someone returning to school, there have been multiple times that I have mentally mapped out ways to make the studio a test run for how a practice would work.
The Studio; Image courtesy : Taubman College of Architecture
A compelling argument by academics is ‘where else does one explore, if not here ?’ For those who believe that architecture is process intensive, the treasure of their pursuit lies in its exploration. The studio is a place that fosters thoughts and ideas, untethered by contingencies. If we view the architectural process as one that starts out with an ambitious, floating idea that periodically molds itself in ‘real life conditions’, the studio is the birthplace of this floating idea. The studio then becomes the place where we repeatedly hone this ability to create – a place of practice. This is leading practices to constantly strive to create for themselves the environment of a studio – one that can withstand and thrive despite the demands of the ‘real world’.
practice in Practice ; Image courtesy : AIA website
So where does this leave us ? Do Practice and practice nudge closer to each other ? Should they ? Because they thrive mainly because of the lack of this bridge.
As architects, we are fundamentally required to straddle the worlds of the abstract and the real parallelly. Maybe these worlds are never meant to meet, but need architects to be mediators. Maybe we are the privileged few who can use the abstract to inform the real and vice versa.
Mediating the black hole in between
To conclude, if this were Interstellar, we would be Matthew McConaughey in the climax, sending quantum data from the 5 dimensional space to Murphy using gravitational anamoly.