Should architecture be introduced as a subject in school for students to learn real-life problem-solving skills?
Design firm Avoid Obvious Architects founder Vicky Chan believes architecture can enrich a student’s life, impart skills that couldn’t be gained from calculus or geometry proofs, and give them better reasoning and creative thinking abilities.
Though Chan knows only a few may ultimately choose architecture as a career path, he believes the instruction will help students apply these skills in their future life.
Schools are increasingly revisiting their curriculum as well as teaching methods to equip students with knowledge and skills that would help them going forward. For instance, Chan’s architecture program for schools is designed to teach students STEM, creativity, sustainability and problem-solving.
Chan, who has also founded the voluntary organisation Architecture for Children, says he began instructing grade school students in architecture since the subject is all about problem-solving. His goal is not to create future architects but to equip students with relevant skills that would help them regardless of the career they pursue in future. Additionally, it would help them develop an appreciation for the aesthetic value of design.
According to Chan, the goals of architecture and education are in alignment. Stating that problems present opportunities, he says when students discover a problem, they also learn to see opportunities. When they can't see the problem, they can't see the opportunity, he notes.
The world is coming around to accept that schools need to change their curriculum or add new subjects to make the learning more viable and relevant for today’s students.
Image: School of Architecture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico