Architecture Competitions as Pedagogical Tools: Bridging the Unit and the Office

  • Federico Ortiz

Abstract

Architecture competitions are considered an essential part of the profession. But when entering the realm of pedagogy, can competitions be understood and used as tools to expand architectural practice and intertwine its professional and pedagogical strands? In this article I question and examine the sites of knowledge production that bridge the gap between academic and professional practice, and explore the idea that architecture competitions can become tools for interconnecting the traditionally separated ways of producing architecture.

I explore a case study in which a pedagogical unit and a professional architecture office come together by using professional architecture competitions as pedagogical tools. Following the first ten years of Elia Zenghelis’s simultaneous pedagogical and professional practice at the Architectural Association’s Diploma Unit 9 and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, I trace the original premises and the outcomes of this fruitful relationship. Four architecture competitions that were part of both the academic exercises of the Unit and the professional practice of the Office are explored in detail using archival documents from the Architectural Association. Examining the shifting nature of roles, viewpoints and ideas in this historical account, the professional mechanism of architecture competitions is seen as a crucial tool for collective knowledge production in the space of architecture education, and vice versa.

 

This essay explores a case study in which a pedagogical Unit and a professional architecture Office come together by using professional architecture competitions as pedagogical tools. Following the first ten years of simultaneous architecture pedagogical and professional practice of Elia Zenghelis at the Architectural Association’s Diploma Unit 9 and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, this article traces original premises and the outcomes of this fruitful relationship. Four architecture competitions that were part of both the academic exercises of the Unit and the professional practice of the Office are explored in detail using archival documents from the Architectural Association. Examining the shifting nature of roles, viewpoints and ideas in this historical account, the professional mechanism of architecture competitions is seen as a crucial tool for collective knowledge production in the space of architecture education, and vice versa.

References

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Author Biography

Federico Ortiz

Federico Ortiz is an architect, researcher and writer. He studied History and Critical Thinking at the Architectural Association, where he received a distinction for his thesis entitled The Unit and The Office: Cooperation in Practice. Previously, Federico studied architecture and urbanism at the National University of La Plata and worked as an architect in Argentina and Switzerland. Federico has recently worked in curatorial and editorial projects at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He is currently a Programme Manager at New London Architecture and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.

How to Cite
ORTIZ, Federico. Architecture Competitions as Pedagogical Tools. FOOTPRINT, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 1, p. 111-125, july 2020. ISSN 1875-1490. Available at: <https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/footprint/article/view/4300>. Date accessed: 20 oct. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.7480/footprint.14.1.4300.
Published
2020-07-16