The Issue of Continuity

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Exceptional situations like COVID-19 have posed unique challenges in architectural education. One of these has been how to create continuity within teaching beyond the current circumstances. Seeking continuity, while initially soothing, and even necessary, may be one of the most crucial subjects in pivoting to digital learning. It is critical because firstly, it assumes that studio teaching and learning can actually be remotely continued. Understandably, such assumption comes from a desire for familiarity, security and easy adaptation. But the assumption must be questioned, shouldn’t exceptional situations require exceptional forms of study? Instead of mending continuation with whatever is at hand to resume ‘business as usual,’ shouldn’t studios go through phases of experimentation that disrupt study plans designed to occur while in a common physical place? Lived space cannot be mirrored with virtual space and the gap between the two requires more examination, more critique and more creative discussions. Secondly, we need to ask: how do we measure such continuity? The equation may be solved in terms of content, deadlines and requirements, but is this enough? Tacit knowledge, body language, the emotional space of being together in a room are certainly a major and complex portion of learning environments, but become blind spots in distant teaching. How are we questioning these blind spots in our small screens that often pixelate due to immense network activity? Undoubtedly, education entails more than the delivery and production of hard content, being connected is a lot more that being on-line, and unmeasurable conditions of knowledge occur without even noticing. The ad-hoc, multifaceted learning environment of the studio space cannot be undermined. Lastly, the desire for continuity has been exercised through tools and technologies that have not been designed from a specific pedagogical perspective. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, are useful and easy-to-learn platforms that secure the exchange of information and general communication, but what are the soft platforms that can be developed for architectural education? Questioning continuation must be positioned as a creative dilemma and not as a problem-solving obstacle. We can develop new platforms, interfaces and forms of exchange if we consider the soft areas of knowledge, but will this suffice? We can at least begin to try.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
PublisherPlaces Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • architecture studio
  • tacit knowledge
  • COVID-19

Artistic research

  • No

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