Presidents Message, August 28, 2017

Concluding report of President Karl Otto Ellefsen

Dear all, hereby you can find the concluding report of President Karl Otto Ellefsen to the General Assembly in Bordeaux.

Here you can download the final report from the President to the Bordeaux GA

Or you can read the concluding report online:

40 years of EAAE/AEEA

We are celebrating four decades of the European Association for Architectural Education. Of course, we know that the real jubilee is when the organization turns 50, in 2027 (or 2025, depending on how we define the birth of the association). But since some of us, more than others, do not know if we will be around at that point of time, we do the celebration of the 40 years. We also note that the EAAE/AEEA – especially in recent years – is not an organization that celebrates itself too much, although there are reasons to celebrate. We have, in fact rather nicely, been able to come out of a conflict that threatened to tear the organization apart.

Herman Neuckermans has written a short history of the EAAE, Emma Boelen has graphically designed the pamphlet, and the organizers is Bordeaux have printed it for all of us to receive. Thank you all!

Herman tells us that all the way from the start “The EAAE (is) has been an international non-profit association committed to the exchange of ideas and people within the field of architectural education research. The EAAE aims at improving the knowledge base and the quality of architectural and urban design education.” Since the 1970s when it was established, the EAAE has also “travelled light”: “it has been run on a voluntary basis, with many people doing many things spread in time and in space all across Europe.” Many have stated that EAAE is an organisation of friends.

We are very happy and proud to have Hans Haenline here, who fathered the idea and became the first president of the EAAE.

Robert Schweitzer wrote what Herman calls a modest booklet documenting quite well the first 10 years of the association. But most interestingly he depicts the intellectual context – die Zeitgeist- in which EAAE came into being very clearly:

“In Europe, after the late sixties, established social and academic institutions and systems had experienced fundamental criticism, which made important changes in value systems, educational concepts, organizational and decision making patterns conceivable and brought them partly already into power and reality.  Many schools of architecture had to reorganize their institutional and operational patterns, had to develop new curricula, subjects, course contents and teaching methods. It was felt in some of the North-West European countries that people responsible for the innovation of architectural education needed an agency for exchange and debate and tried to form a network of people sharing the same problems and concerns. Therefor in 1975 EAAE was brought into being.”  

Seen in this light the EAAE is somehow a product of the student revolution from the late 1960s and onwards. And the first 20 years of the organisation also reflect the urge to renew architectural education and to liberate it from set standards by meeting in: forums, workshops, conferences, publishing news sheets and giving summer school training courses. The need for a more academic approach is illustrated by the Transactions on Architectural Education (initiated in the presidential period of Pierre van Meiss in the late 1990s) and the need for communication between the school and general knowledge about what the different schools were doing, is illustrated by the EAAE Guide of Schools of Architecture in Europe. The first edition being edited by Leen Van Duin, in 2002.

There have been a lot of activities in this organisation, most of them being a result of bottom up initiatives. I should mention the competitions because these are still interesting initiatives. The Royal Academy in Copenhagen – by Ebbe Harder – brought in Montanta and Velux as sponsors. The Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest – Emil Popescu – has been working together on student competitions until today.

Chania hosted the General assemblies and the yearly meeting of the EAAE for 17 years.

17 years. This is nearly half the time this organisation has existed. When we left Chania in 2013 and the ENSHA EU financed projects ended, the coordinators – former EAAE president Constantin Spironidis and Maria Voyazaki – were celebrated for their highly valued services to the EAAE.

The Chania meetings came into being in 1998 and got a firm basis in 2002 after an application to EU to finance this event via the creation of a new network called ENHSA, European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture. One might categorize the Chania and ENSHA times as the second phase of the EAAE. Herman Neuckermans points out that this period shows that the interests of the organization evolved from more general architectural themes to institutional related issues like:

  • the Bologna declaration that standardized all university education into a bachelor and master level.
  • the EU directives on content and duration of architectural education in Europe
  • issues on architectural research.

The Conflict

The conflict in the organization around 2013 emerged from the EAAE/ENSHA cooperation. ENHSA, with the organization´s finance from the EU and well-functioning secretariat, became a network that was able to function on its own terms. This made EAAE dependent on ENSHA. and the organization was to a little degree able to work out its own strategies.

In parts of the organization there was a growing dissatisfaction with this situation. The Council led by president Urs Hirschberg started a process of professionalization of the EAAE, by strengthening the secretariat and making a clearer distance between the EAAE and ENSHA.In my opinion this was absolutely necessary to further develop the EAAE as a tool for the schools and for European architectural education. Being a family was not enough in the challenging situation European architectural education was to encounter.

In my report to the GA in 2014 I tried to pin down a few points characterizing the EAAE/ENSHA relationship. Quite a few people in the EAAE know much more about this than me, I used to be very much on the fringes of the EAAE activities. My intention was barely to touch upon the principles in the relationship.

  • Firstly, ENHSA is a child of the EAAE. EAAE gave birth to ENHSA. I will of course not go into discussion the character of the conception. Some call ENHSA a love child some have seen it as a beast and a consequence of a rape.
  • Secondly, the EAAE needed ENHSA as a tool to finance professional activities. This was a success. ENHSA, as a project grounded in the University of Thessaloniki, in a very competitive situation was able to establish professional applications and get substantial funding from the EU.
  • Thirdly – this lead to a situation where EAAE-activities to a very high degree leaned on ENHSA, the activities of the ENHSA coordinators and ENHSA funding. The coordinators did a remarkable job, very active, skilled and devoted. One could even say that what seemed to be the core of EAAE activities, like the Chania meeting that most of us have looked forward to and enjoyed for years, in fact were ENHSA activities.
  • Fourthly, and this is only a hypothesis from my side, EAAE was somehow deactivated and relied too much on ENHSA. In a situation where ENHSA is terminating in 2014 this becomes very clear to the Council. How to run the EAAE without the economic and pragmatic power of ENHSA?
  • Fifthly, a discussion rose within the organisation about the priorities, tasks and qualities of ENHSA activities. These kinds of discussions are necessary and extremely healthy. But it might have been a problem that these discussions did not surface in the organisation and were not made open and operational, but in the end, were channelled into a, speaking for myself, operational discussion on economic management.

Urs Hirschberg and his Council started a process that was inevitable and should be given credit for their intentions. The strategy was needed but the tactics seemed non-operational.

The discussions became fierce, moved away from the real problems and the challenges that should have been at stake, and ended in a brawl over the economic management of the organization.  The way the discussion was conducted by e-mails and personal accusations made the level of conflict accelerate. The Council withdrew in 2013 at the General Assembly in Leuven. The document presented by the former Council in this GA contained a harsh critique of the economic management of ENSHA and of different economic aspects of the EAAE/ENSHA relationship.

Our Council elected in 2013 staged an audit executed by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, titled: EAAE-AEEA: Review of international cash transactions. The Council reported to the GA in Hasselt in March 2014. We took notice of the Report of our predecessors dated 15/06/2013, and provided answers to the answers to the accusations of “improper financial conduct” and other eventual irregularities. We underlined that it had been proved to be quite right that in order to make the arrangements in Chania function, the ENSHA coordinators had to adapt to the pragmatic approach of the Greek tourist industry in Crete. The report states that it is also regrettable that transfer of money from the EAAE to ENSHA made use of private bank – accounts.

But our investigations and reports proved that most of the allegations on economical misconduct within in EAAE and in the EAAE/ENSHA relationship, were wrong. Our statement on economic management, one year into our period, and after investigation was that:

The present council regrets the course of actions that have created tensions and rapture within the EAAE. The council will distance itself from allegations and suggestions of financial fraud. Generally, our opinion is that personal conflicts and conflicts of interests have eclipsed objective facts.

Mending the Gap

Before being elected at the General Assembly in Leuven on the 15th of June 2013, I had presented a tentative program for a new EAAE Council. Here I stated that the main task for the new Council elected in Leuven was to clarify and stabilize the situation, solve conflicts, “mend the gap”, and then – start the elaborate process of rebuilding the organization:

The background for the General Assembly in Leuven on the 15th of June is the fact that the Acting Council has lost trust in a major part of the EAAE.  All agree that there is a serious conflict within the organization, questioning the future of EAAE as a vehicle for cooperation between European Schools of Architecture. The conflict and the prevailing situation is described and explained in different ways. The Acting Council states in the report to the GA that there is a lack of ethics in the EAAE system and refers to the group G6 initiative as an attempt to defend former positions and avoid transparency primarily in economic matters. The G6 group of former EAAE-presidents reacts to a serious lack of professionalism in the Acting Council, inconsistent and intimidating policies and practices threatening the central values of EAAE.

This means that the intentions of the New Council should be to:

  • establish all information about the present situation in the EAAE,
  • establish a new body for economical and practical management,
  • keep the functioning networks running,
  • keep the EAAE together by meeting, and doing networking with all parts of the organization,
  • make a proposal for revised regulations for the EAAE,
  • establish a proposal for a revised strategy and work-plan for the EAAE,
  • clarify the EAAE/ENHSA relation

Although this was not clearly formulated in our documents, most of the Council looked upon our job as a cleanup operation, trying to interfere in an up-scaled, exaggerating and emotive conflict.

We have succeeded in this task, with the help of new generations entering into academic and administrative positions in the European Schools of Architecture. For them this conflict is history, uninteresting for the present discussions, and even to some extent amusing. However, we have to admit, there are a lot of people around with scars from the conflict. Real – and even long-time damage was only inflicted on what one might call the two secretariats.

Primarily the ENSHA coordinators who still have to deal with the aftermath of the economic accusations. We cannot come around that the 17 Chania meetings, in the second phase of our history, somehow established and formatted this organization. And that Constantin and Maria made an enormous self-offering effort to achieve this. They indeed deserved the gratitude and celebration they were given by the EAAE at our last meeting in Chania.

Secondly the former Council was removed in a rather tough manner. At the Leuven GA, one could observe something like an organizational war, where earlier friends came to dislike each other profoundly. Things were uttered that, in a calmer atmosphere, never would have surfaced. Profoundly private matters, were used as arguments in discussions over EAAE management. The high temperature was brought on by late night e-mails, when private censorship seemingly had fallen asleep. However, the main reason were the accusations on something that we interpreted as claims on economic fraud in the relationship between EAAE and ENSHA, executed by the EAAE secretariat, the presidents during the EAAE/ENSHA period and by the ENSHA coordinators.

At that point of time few seemed to acknowledge that the former Council had started a highly needed modernization and professionalization of the EAAE, that new and able academics (not the least with a strong research background) had been recruited to the Council, and that the secretariat had to be strengthened. To be “a family of friends” is a positive characteristic for an organization. But the EAAE should be able to act in other ways to cope with future tasks. I will underline: Urs Hirschberg in most respects did a good job that should be appreciated, as the president of the EAAE. It was also needed to initiate processes to strengthen the Secretariat. The strategic thinking behind it was correct. The tactics proved to be disastrous.

Strategy for the new Council

A maximum size Council was elected in Leuven. All candidates that wanted to support the EAAE by taking part in leadership were elected en bloc. At that point of time there was a lot of distrust in the organization. Also among the schools and academics that had voted for the new Council, many doubted the future of the EAAE. Maybe the time for this kind of an organisation, trying both to be extremely inclusive, and at the same time organizationally speaking “travelling light”, was over. People that had a long standing with the EAAE, contacted me during the first winter and expressed this view. And both the President and the Council doubted the EAAE was possible to rebuild.

The first two years of this Council therefore had the character of a new startup. The new Council took on a position of negotiation, trying to reach out to both sides in the conflict.

Maybe because of this, not too many schools left the organization, one might estimate 20% of the old membership stopped paying. On the other hand side, new schools mostly in the fringes of Europe were recruited.

The present council and president have tried to take a position of negotiations. All the French schools had collectively left the EAAE, and also intended to return collectively in 2016. I think all of us have to admit that the younger generation, now taking academic and leadership positions in the schools, was not part of the conflict, and has no interest in keeping old disagreements warm and working.

In 2014 the Council therefore could turn to the task of rebuilding the organisation. Looking back the most important tasks were:

  • better management of EAAE economy
  • finding new sources for income after ENSHA terminated in 2014
  • establishing a new secretariat for the organization
  • renewing the Statutes for the organization
  • renewing the EAAE networks
  • establishing a new set of EAAE congresses on Architectural Education
  • professionalizing the way the EAAE was organized and worked
  • renew our web in order to better be able to communicate with the membership

The intention was to change leadership of the EAAE at our General Assembly in Milano in 2015, but the situation proved a little immature and the period of Presidency was extended to 2017.

Main achievements

  1. EAAE/AEEA Economic management

The Council has clarified the economic procedures, the financial actions and the EAAE/ENSHA relationship. The report to the GA in Hasselt in March 2013 (EAAE Website) followed the order of the strongly critical report on EAAE economy and EAAE/ENHSA relationships from the former Council and included the themes:

  • EAAE financial relationship with ENHSA
  • EAAE accounting & administration
  • EAAE secretariat and agreement with KU Leuven
  • Notes on EAAE travel expenses
  • Notes on the EAAE lawyer

In order to prepare the reply to the former Council, information was gathered from various sources:

  • Audit ordered by the present council from PriceWaterHouseCoopers, titled: EAAE-AEEA: Review of international cash transactions (PWC report from now onwards)
  • Discussions with accountant De Kleine Prins, appointed by the former Council
  • EU administration
  • Interviews with Lou Schol and Herman Neuckermans
  • Previous reactions to the outgoing council’s report (KUL & ENHSA in particular)

The report concluded that most of the accusations from the former Council are invalid. However, the critique of lack of clearly formalized practices, and lack of formalized agreements between EAAE and ENHSA in questions concerning economy, meeting the present EU-regulations, was correct.  New, correct economic procedures are established.

  1. Secretariat

In 2014 the EAAE Secretariat was moved from KU Leuven, who had hosted the EAAE from the start, to the Hasselt University. The EAAE is established by Belgian law and this means that our Secretariat should be located in Belgium.

The move to Hasselt also represented a strengthening of the secretariat, because more administrative resources are allocated to the EAAE management. From 2017 the responsibility of the EAAE Web is also moved to the Secretariat in Hasselt.

  1. EAAE Statutes

The Statutes are revised and modernized:

The purpose of the Association is to advance the quality of architectural education. The Association should provide a forum for generating and exchanging information on aspects of architectural education and architectural research. The Association aims at improving the knowledge base and the quality of architectural and urban design education.

The mission statement of the association is therefore to build a network of European Schools of Architecture fostering the discussion, the exchanges and a common policy in Europe to advance the quality of architectural education.

In order to achieve this, the association will:

  • organize a yearly General Assembly which is linked with network opportunities and discussing the general Association policy;
  • establish relations with governmental, international and professional organizations and authorities;
  •  coordinate and encourage the dialogue between the different member schools;
  • promote the organization of thematic networks through conferences and workshops;
  • articulate critical issues in the context of architectural education, as well as architectural research;
  • strive for academic excellence.

(All from paragraph 2)

  1. EAAE Communications

The systems for communication has always been a weak part in the association. The EAAE web-page has so far not been a good and used vehicle for communication between the schools. The EAAE web – – has been renewed twice during this Council period, first headed by Ivan Cabrera (new web launched in 2014), and then headed by Dalibor Hlaváček (new web launched 2017).

At the same time the EAAE Online Guide is revised with the intention of providing

a comprehensive listing of European architecture schools as part of a permanently updated database of EAAE member schools. Schools can present all relevant information with individual characteristics, available courses, admission criteria, facilities, research topics and centres, contact coordinates, references to websites, etc. Each school is responsible for its presentation. It is the ambition of the EAAE that this guide would become the main channel for anyone trying to contact schools of architecture, staff members or students within Europe.

From 1978 to 2010 the EAAE regularly published a printed News Sheet in order to inform about EAAE’s daily activity, forthcoming and past events, teaching positions and much more.

The digital EAAE Newsletter is from 2015 published to all membership.

With the New Web the Association probably has an excellent tool to establish a real platform for the exchange of information, for news, for marketing positions and new programs and for debating issues in education, research and institutional policies.

  1. Establishing a new line of annual EAAE Conferences.

The Conference in Bordeaux is the third in a new row, following the Chania events.

The theme of Milano 2015 was: ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION TOWARDS 2030, discussing the near future of architectural education in terms of explicit challenges

The theme of Delft 2016 was: FOR EXAMPLE, DELFT. We raised the questions related to the schools of architecture as institutions, and how different schools planned their future roles in society and in a global educational context.

The theme of Bordeaux 2017 is: LEARNING WITH THE WORLD

  1. The Networks

Work within ENSHA, supported by EU-funding was organized in a set of different networks. Apart from the Heritage Network, headed by Stefano Musso and Loughlin Kealy, these networks are not active after the economic support drained out.
The EAAE has chosen to set up two Academies with under-groups to organize activities within education and research.

  1. The EAAE Research Academy

The late Johan Verbeke was project leader of the Research Academy until he passed away in early August this year. The Academy is now headed by Susanne Komossa and Gunnar Parelius.

Already at the GA in Chania in 2012, the Association established an EAAE Charter on Architectural Research. The Charter is intended:

as a reference document for the use of universities, architecture schools, research institutions, funding agencies, professional bodies and architectural practices that are undertaking architectural research. It specifies the character and objectives of architectural research, confirms the variety of valid methodologies and supports the development of a vibrant, internationally recognized and well-funded research community.  

(Quoted from the first part of the document)

However, the activities of the association, have rather focused on bachelor-education, master-education and the relation between education and architectural practice, than on the challenges of research.

The Research Academy consists of an open network of member-institutions that are active in a series of workshops. The Academy intends to be a think-tank, articulating and promoting common concerns and interest in architectural research. It offers a platform for reflecting upon, and responding to topical issues, thus revealing and underpinning actions, claims, and positions to be taken, inside and outside of EAAE (Quoted from the EAAE Web).

The Academy so far has a focus on PhD education and the Academy is:

  • mapping the kaleidoscopic field of architectural research in Europe and globally;
  • Identifying concepts regarding the intentions and position of architecture research, and how they relate to the changing role and profession of the architect, especially when it comes to PhD education.

The EAAE Periodicals group is re-established within the RA.

  1. The EAAE Education Academy

The Academy was established in 2015 and is headed by project-leader Johan De Walsche together with Oya Atalay Franck and Sally Stewart. One of the initial intentions is to establish an EAAE Charter on Architectural Education to be voted upon at the GA in 2018.

Also, the Education Academy consists of an open network of academics and member-institutions developing ideas through a series of workshops:

  • Architectural education in Europe takes many shapes, and it has been investigated from several perspectives. However, the information remains dispersed. So, there is a need for making a state of affairs. The Education Academy aims to collect and discuss existing research on architectural education; consequently, it aims at initiating new research initiatives.
  • The Education Academy wants to be a think-tank, articulating and promoting common concerns and interest in architectural education. It offers a platform for reflecting upon, and responding to topical issues, thus revealing and underpinning actions, claims, and positions to be taken.

The Education Academy focuses on three main themes: (1) The changing roles of the architect, (2) traditions and roots of institutions and (3) pedagogy.

Mapping existing research has already be undertaken. The next steps are to map the existing situation (starting from EAAE member-schools), reflect upon the actual context and prospect what should / could be done.

  1. Student Prizes. The European Medal.

Over the years, the EAAE has organized different competitions together with different sponsors. European Architectural Medals for the Best Diploma Projects (EAM BDP) awards excellence in crossing the threshold from education to profession.

The organizers are The University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu (UAUIM) together with The Architects´ Council of Europe (ACE) and the EAAE. The Competition is addressing three influential themes of architectural design:

  • approach to problem solving
  • social and environmental awareness (responsibility and resilience)
  • innovative response and originality

The 2017 edition, recently launched, is the third. At the moment, the EAAE and ACE is discussing cooperation with the Mies Talent Award that is given biannually, the first time in 2016.  There are a diverse set of Student Prizes in Europe, and although the European Medal is a prestigious prize and the competition is gaining in entries each year, the prize might prosper and get more interest from the media, by working together with the Mies Foundation in Barcelona.

At the same time, the EAAE, together with UAUIM, is developing different kinds of ideas for competitions together with companies with a long-standing relationship to the EAAE.

  1. The ACE/EAAE working party

The EAAE does not have a role in formal EU-relations. ACE has a formal role and takes part in discussions on relevant EU-directives and policies. ACE also biannually delivers very useful statistics on the changing situation in architectural practice and consultancy in Europe

Adapting Architectural Education to the New Situation in Europe which also proves very useful for the EAAE.

During his period as president in ACE, Luciano Lazzari has shown a great interest in architectural education and questions related to curriculum, duration of education and practice as part of the master studies. The question of the relationship between the profession and education has also strongly been discussed in the EAAE in this Council period.

The ACE/EAAE working party was first established by EAAE president James Horan, when the EU architect´s directive was put on the agenda. The working party was re-established in 2015 with two to four annual meetings in Brussels. One of the outcomes of this cooperation is that the EAAE through ACE is orientated on changes in EU-policies. A successful and also in terms of marketing, useful initiative, is the co-organization of the European Medal. Another is the cooperation on the WICKED PROBLEMS Erasmus+ project.

The joint ACE-EAAE Symposium (in coordination with CNAPPC), EDUCATION and PRACTICE – THE FUTURE ARCHITECT took place in Rome in May 2017.

  1. ERASMUS +, “Confronting Wicked Problems: Adapting Architectural Education to the New Situation in Europe”.

After the funding of ENSHA terminated, the EAAE had to look for other sources to finance activities. In 2015 we succeeded in gaining resources from the ERASMUS + program, and the results of the program is disseminated at this Bordeaux Congress.

The EAAE has been a minor partner in many applications for ERASMUS+ money, also projects that have been funded. What distinguishes the “Wicked” project is the central role of the EAAE and ACE, both parties being represented in all parts of the project.

Generally, the project raises the question of how to teach architecture today in Europe, and especially how curriculum and teaching should be adapted to the new societal and professional situation, to improve the relevance of the graduates’ knowledge and their employability.

The project was initiated by the EAAE Council, and the application was written by the EAAE President and Erling Rognes Solbu at AHO.  The project is coordinated by the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) and is organized in three different Think Tanks:

“Architectural Design and Professional Knowledge”, whose members are: Escola Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (ETSAB-UPC) and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO);

“Heritage”, whose members are: Czech Technical University in Prague – Faculty of Architecture, Universiteit Hasselt – Department of Architecture and Universitá degli Studi di Genova – Department of Architecture;

Sustainability”, whose members are: Politecnico di Milano – Department of Architecture, Delft University of Technology – Department of Architecture; and “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest.

In addition to these schools, the Architect’s Council of Europe (ACE-CEA) and the EAAE/AEEA are participating in all three groups. The project will be disseminated as part of the Bordeaux meetings.

e-FIADE, Exploring the Field of Interaction in Architectural Design Education.

The project started up in 2017 and the partners in this project are, The Department of Architecture, TOBB University (TURKEY), Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of the Built Environment, (THE NETHERLANDS), The School of Architecture, Universidade Lusofona, (PORTUGAL), The Faculty of Architecture at University of Zagreb, (CROATIA), Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Architecture, (TURKEY), UIA and the EAAE.

The output of the project will be:

  • Mapping and analysis of existing diploma studio tracks and internship models in the European departments of architecture based on the knowledge, skills, and competences defined by EU directive 2013/55.
  • Alternative paths for diploma studios and curricular internships that respect the synthesis of the major challenges of our era affecting the profession and the emerging ‘hybrid, trans-disciplinary’ professional areas of the 21st century both in local and international context.

(Quoted from the projects website)

  1. International Cooperation

The EAAE has a long-standing relationship to the American ARCC (Architectural Research Centres Consortium). In 2016 the EAAE and ARCC co-organized the Research Symposium

Architectural Research Addressing Societal Challenges” at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Lisbon, following the earlier Conferences in Copenhagen, Milano and Hawaii.

The ARCC-EAAE 2018 International Conference will be arranged in 2018 in Philadelphia

The conference will be jointly hosted by three universities in the city of Philadelphia, led by Temple University in collaboration with Philadelphia University and Drexel University. We are planning for a comprehensive and global conference, working together with sister organisations in the US, Latin America, China and Australia.

Representatives of our Americas sister association ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) has regularly visited our EAAE – congresses. The level of communication and practical cooperation has however been low. The intention is to strengthen the ARCC/ACSA/EAAE relations, and – “working with the world” – also to link these organizations more formally into a global network of schools of architecture.


This Council, in my opinion, has achieved a lot, taken into account the difficult situation in the EAAE after our election. Our general opinion is that we have been able to put the EAAE back on track. Our intention, however was to do more, and I would like to end up this report to the Bordeaux GA by making a few remarks on the challenges ahead.


The EAAE economy is based on membership fees. At the start of our period the EAAE had also accumulated funds, that the GAs advised us to put into projects developing the association. This has partly been done, but still a reasonable fund is available. In addition to this we have been able to finance our projects through EU-programs.

The reason why the EAAE is able to work with very low expenses, is that the employer – the schools – pay fee, travels and boarding for academics doing jobs in the EAAE as project leaders, Council members, Treasurer, Vice-President and President. The association has been working after this principal from the start.

In order to keep the EAAE going these principles also have to follow us in the future, but there are EAAE-tasks of common interest that a school hosting a Council member or a President should not have to pay for. And although we will continue to “travel light”, our administrative costs will be higher in the future.

Therefore –we have to raise the amount of money we might bring in from projects, to finance activities, like we have experienced in the ERASMUS+ project. We should try to make our Web self-financing. And this Council will raise a discussion of the amount of fee the schools pays to the EAAE. A raise, for example, from 500 Euro to 1000 Euro will basically double our income. This will be discussed the next year and a proposal will most probably be presented to the 2018 GA.


During this Council period, the Secretariat has been strengthened. In terms of resources, in terms of making the web-editing a part of the Secretariat, and because Hasselt University and Inge Lens, Emma Boelen and Koenraad van Cleempoel have put a lot of effort into the work.

Still there is a challenge. There are a lot of tasks that favourably could be defined as the responsibility of the Secretariat. A discussion of the future capacity, role and costs of the Secretariat will arise, and eventually also change how the EAAE is organised.

The potential of the EAAE Web

The EAAE Web is by now excellent, technically and graphically speaking. It has the potential to be developed to a “the Hub” in European architectural education. Eventually, the Web also has the potential to crate income for the EAAE. In order to release this potential, the next Council has to put a lot of efforts and also resources to develop the Web further.

Regional EAAE

There are a lot of different regional and national organisations within a wider Europe, organizing schools of architecture. To mention two of them: SCHOSA – the UK organization of school leaders, and Nordic Academy – the organization of Nordic and Baltic schools.

These kinds of regional associations have their own tasks and duties. One of their assets is that they are closer to the schools, but they should also be looked upon as resources for the EAAE. They have potential to take on projects of general interest for the EAAE – members. And they may also more systematically be linked to the EAAE –homepage, and use this homepage to communicate.  In terms of resources this might be a smart move, that also might challenge the organization of the EAAE.

Improving PhD studies and research in architecture and urbanism

In terms of numbers there has been a boost in PhDs within the disciplines of architecture and a boost in research projects in our fields. Nearly all schools have research as part of their program, most have or are linked to PhD programs, and a lot of efforts is done to write architectural problems into research programs with another main focus.

The EAAE has been able to be up to date and acting in the discussions on education, not the same might be said in terms of research. Except for our Charter on Research, little input and guidance has been offered by the association.

The newly established academies both have a research agenda.  The EA agenda is mainly to stimulate research on architectural education. The RA preliminary agenda is to give adequate input to PhD programs. These are both excellent initiatives. However, the role of the EAAE in developing policies, guidance and discussing themes and quality in architectural research is not clarified and needs to be developed further in the years to come.

Inclusive and/or elitist

The EAAE has the ambition to organize and support all schools of architecture in a wider Europe. The Association started out from elite schools in central Europe. During the Chania years, the organization came to include a lot of schools around the Mediterranean and also in the Eastern part of Europe. After the conflict, schools in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Ireland and the UK temporary left the EAAE.  Schools, some of them bright new, from the fringes of Europe, entered the association.

Global competition, deteriorating university economy, changes labour markets and needs for competences, have put pressure on the schools during the last decade. From systematically asking our membership, we know that the process of change has not led to a “global studio” or a “global curriculum”. Rather the situation is that schools try to keep and develop their own identity, defining a “local” strategy to be able to cope with a “global situation”, to distinguish them and highlight their originality.  Accordingly, differences between educational institutions in the architectural field seem to have grown. At the least, the objectives of the various schools have begun to diverge, making their differences in emphasis easier to notice.

As a result of this, the schools might be less generous and more pragmatic in their international relations, joining with their own kind. Assessments, rankings and the development of new networks and organizations with limited access, might also stimulate this process.

The EAAE should not take a stand against this kind of development. The schools have the right to pursue their own interests. For our organization, it is important that we are both able to handle and be part of general European discussions on policies, to help schools and regions that need to improve the quality of architectural education and to take part in the most sophisticated discussions on education, research and institutional development.

I am grateful for the cooperation of the Council during the years from 2013-2017.

I wish to thank my Vice-President Adalberto Del Bo for his strong support, I know he has been through very difficult times during this last year. And I want to thank the EAAE treasurer, Koenraad Van Cleempoel and the Secretariat in Hasselt for their support.

To the membership, thank you for electing me. I hope I did a decent job to try to keep the EAAE alive.

Oslo 27th of August 2017

Karl Otto Ellefsen

President EAAE