Toward a New Architectural Pedagogy: Marketing and Teaching Architecture in the Experience Economy

By Preeti Talwai.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: September 4, 2015 $US5.00

Architectural education in the United States has historically been characterized by and criticized for the weakness of its professional associations. Cementing this trend, existing literature in the field has focused on degree-granting design programs, often in isolation from professional practice. However, with intensifying academic capitalist regimes and the commoditization of architecture in the experience economy, architectural education should be situated within the professional, economic, and academic currents that impact its values, ideologies, and expectations. This essay uses the Career Discovery Program at Harvard's Graduate School of Design as a case study to demonstrate how contemporary design education can no longer be regarded as insular. Architectural pedagogy must negotiate the forces of academic capitalism, professional practice, and the “experience economy,” particularly in relation to demographics that have previously remained unstudied. Drawing on forty years of Career Discovery’s promotional materials, as well as interviews, studio syllabi, and observations of juried reviews, the paper presents a deliberately brief, synthetic presentation of an alternative stance that more broadly considers the scope of architectural education. The essay aims to stimulate dialogue about the direct and indirect impacts and implications of branding and commodification on (1) institutional motivations and (2) the representation of architecture in the design studio. Most importantly, the paper argues for a more collective understanding of the role of design education in both the university and the global economy, one that can more holistically inform learning outcomes for both current and future design students.

Keywords: Design Education, Entrepreneurism, Pedagogy

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 9, Issue 3, September, 2015, pp.17-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: September 4, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 464.415KB)).

Preeti Talwai

Independent Scholar, Department of Architecture, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA