IE University offers fourteen bachelor’s degrees as well as 9 dual degree programs. One of those programs is the architecture degree.
Truly remarkable students, professors, and faculty members put their extreme efforts into progressing and improving the degree and themselves.
My experience with architecture at times held a love-and-hate relationship. Studying one of my biggest passions might be the root of this complex relationship. The project, done through many all-nighters, and the student develops a relationship similar to the relationship between the novel and the author, or the art and the artist, which are inseparable and ornamented with parts of the architect.
The degree remains a mystery for those not involved in it, who are the majority of the IE students. To recap, architecture is hard. It is draining to imagine something consuming all your time and energy.
I recently filmed one of my recent projects in Design Studio 5 taught by Romina Canna and Maxon Higbee, for my YouTube channel. Looking back at it, I realized how much I reminisced, it truly was an exceptionally fun time. It made me aware of the devotion of our professors, and how much they were involved in pushing us further.
Architecture is for those who are passionate, it’s brilliant and exciting, and it is a way of looking at and reflecting on life. Listening to history storytelling on the façades of the old buildings. Our worlds are affected by and lived in architecture whether you are in your own home, or in a park, with its own design intent enclosed by several buildings around.
Architecture is supposed to discuss many other disciplines, including but not limited to, economy, politics, and urban planning. Overall, we architecture students graduate with a variety of skills that can be executed in various disciplines rather than architecture.
When education holds such broad to minimal skill how does one prepare? What type of individuals are we supposed to graduate as? Are architects supposed to change the world, or can they even?
Throughout my studies, I believed we could change the world: the economic system that is set up benefiting from the exploitation of land, resources, and people can be broken down through architecture.
My studies in IE exposed me to brilliant authors and researchers such as David Harvey that made me question my involvement in the economical system which is extremely harmful and an already dug-up grave for many.
I wondered about the shortcomings of our degree in IE, it made me question the university’s lack of interest in improving the degree. While the majority of the most hardworking students were all in to explore the extent of their talents and skills, at times the institution made many of us feel like second thoughts.
The current first-years are shaken by the news of their possible 4 years in Segovia while the third-years are cramped in a space half the size of a normal studio, overcoming even more struggles, that are different from the scope of the work. Furthermore, the constant answer throughout out my 3 years of education was, “Architects, have to be problem solvers this is much like real life!”
To some extent I would agree with the statement, however, real-life problems can be developed out of one’s imagination, even though a studio that requires multiple huge models to be made could have been an easy realization for many actual architects prior to it even becoming a problem.
Thus, it made me question whether is it the simulation like real-life education or is it simply a lack of care for details that could have been easily prevented. At that point lies the source of our problems, transparency. Including students before certain decisions are made, not leaving them to deal with the consequences after it’s already over.
While I can be extremely critical, it comes from a place of seeing the efforts of our incredible professors, all other faculty members, and my peers. I truly believe that gathering so many different backgrounds, with a common passion who still looks at architecture with a different approach is a treasure, that needs to be cultivated.
Hard conversations and debates regarding architecture should be a core part of our education. I am grateful for everything that IE is offering, however rather than just simply being good, architecture is filled with students who are hoping to be detrimental to the architecture world in the future, such as myself, who believe in changing the ethical and environmental problems practicing architecture inherently comes with. Thus, the most important duty of the university is to create an environment to let those students reach their full potential.