Presidents Message, December 21, 2021


New Year’s Message from the President

Dear Colleagues,

We are leaving another year full of enormous challenges behind us – maybe some less surprising, since we have gotten used to the specific conditions of the pandemic but nevertheless further intensely characterized by uncertainty.

COVID-19 forced everyone and everything online, including those academic fields like architecture that would not have gone online so fast under normal circumstances. This development will not be completely reversible, nor should it be. In fact, we cannot afford to do without digital tools and media. But the teaching of architecture, at least in its core subject, architectural design, is still decisively shaped by the physical dialogue between teaching and learning people. For the education of architects, the skills acquired there are central. All the teachers and learners I have had contact with lament the loss of “educational depth” brought about by the digital teaching and learning imposed by the pandemic situation; everyone is drawn back to the drawing room. Let us remain hopeful that this will be possible again on a regular basis next year!

I would like to highlight some of EAAE’s achievements in 2021.

The first Deans’ Summit has successfully been launched and has taken place online in April at AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Under the topic “Change the game – take responsibility – nurture sustainability – change the world” the global challenges of climate change, of the environmental decline, of equality and diversity, which have more clearly surfaced through the impacts of the pandemic, were addressed. The event has – once again – shown the importance of exchange, the need for solidarity and the possibilities of supporting each other as leaders of schools of architecture, design and urban planning. We have agreed upon the Oslo Pledge, defined action fields and started a series of joint workshops of the Education Academy, the Research Academy and the Conservation Network, which focuses on integrating the SDGs in architectural education and research. These workshops show how committed the academies and their growing communities are.

EAAE is an official partner of the New European Bauhaus initiative and has played a key role in the establishment of the NEBC, New European Bauhaus Collective, which published a common Statement and supports the development and implementation of the initiative. Furthermore, NEBC has held a public Conference under the title “Common Ground – Making the Renovation Wave a cultural project”.

An EAAE joint event, which connected to the agenda of the Deans’ Summit and the NEBC, was the second Teachers’ Conference with the topic “Curriculum for Climate Agency: Design (in)Action”. The conference was organized together with our partner organization ACSA and held virtually in June hosted by Pratt Institute and AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Our Annual Conference took place in a hybrid format at the CTU, Czech Technical University, in Prague with the topic “New Dimensions. Reflection of the Enlargement of Scale and Overlapping of Disciplines”. We have discussed the increase in scale and the overlapping of disciplines in the fields of architecture – urbanism – landscape architecture in current practice and in current education. The two events were milestone on our mission to improve the quality of education, strengthening the community of educators and researchers and sharing our insights, knowledge, and inspirations.

Just to name a few more activities: The Education Academy launched a series of three workshops focused on architectural design remote teaching issues and is currently holding a workshop series to discuss and deepen its position paper “Principles and Practices of Architectural Education”. The Research Academy continues its engagement for the CA2RE/CA2RE+ events. The Conservation Network has published “Conservation / Demolition. Transactions on Architectural Education no. 67” and held a Conservation/Sustainable Design Workshop.

So, when looking back, I can proudly say that in the last twelve months, we have despite all difficulties and challenges accomplished a lot as an organization. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Council and the members of the academies and networks for their ongoing dedication.

I wish you and your families a peaceful festive season and all the best for 2022! Stay healthy!

Best regards,
Oya Atalay Franck
President EAAE