Notes for a lecture on Architectural Education 
at the New University of Bulgaria, at the invitation of easa Bulgaria.
Expeditions
A mexican professor, Humberto Ricalde, once told me that architecture cannot me thought, only explored together. It’s a educational concept that I hardly knew from my own school in Zürich. There, experienced teachers thought students. But I was familiar with the concept of common exploration of architecture fairly well from easa (european architecture student assembly). There, everyone was somewhat inexperienced and driven by curiosity in what architecture could be, instead of spreading their own conception of architecture.
After graduating, it was time for me to leave easa and stop doing workshops there, while other educational opportunities started to emerge. Whatever I do in education now, I consciously approach it like an easa workshop. Not because of nostalgia for easa, but because I believe that it is the most fruitful way of education in architecture. In essence, for me anyways, that is to look at any educational endeavor as a trip into the unknown, a expedition into unchartered territories of architecture. The basic assumption is that architecture is a constantly changing landscape, not just for students, but for everyone. One cannot learn architecture because it never stays the same. But one can gain agility in exploring it, and by daring to explore it, redefining what architecture is.
An expedition doesn’t deserve its name if the outcome is predictable, or even if its success is guaranteed. Architectural education should be about taking risks with the real possibility of failure. An expedition is meant to make novel discoveries, and it will inevitably lead to unexpected experiences to which one has to react and learn to improvise. And an expedition is made for the larger good, to expand the known territory for everyone and spark discussions well beyond the professional realm with a general public.
As the result of a competition, Matilde Igual Capdevila and I were allowed to conceive and conduct a master studio at the University of Liechtenstein this spring. We took the idea of expedition quite literally: The studio was about walking a straight line across the entire country from urban areas to remote high-alpine landscapes. Everything on this line would be subject to investigation, and every student had to design and build an intervention somewhere on the line. To accomplish this, we needed ropes, snow-shoes and a lot of patience. The conditions were real, and so was the fear now and then when the fog lifted and the sharp cliffs underneath became visible from a mountain top. While in the beginning of the semester snow hindered us from getting to one end of the line, towards the end of the semester floods made the other end in the valley inaccessible. We were not in a protected academic realm, but out there in chaos. Nature, but also politics, ownership-structures and media had to be dealt with. Matilde and I didn’t know what to expect, we were just leading the expedition. This particular educational experience will be subject to the talk during the INCM, so the details will be spared in this short text, but the expedition was quite a success. Each student developed a unique reading of the landscape and country and managed to translate it into an architectural object. The results were shortly exhibited at the Venice Biennale this year, and also caught the attention of the local public in Liechtenstein. As a consequence, we were invited to present the ideas to the government of Liechtenstein. Most importantly, all students got back from the expeditions alive, and hopefully as better architects. 

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