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25 January 2019
MAXXI ROMA. Museo Nazionalle delle arti del XII secolo
Santiago Atrio Cerezo
Maria Cristina Brembilla
Jérôme de Alzua
MAXXI is organising an international conference on education to built spaces dedicated to architecture students and architects, teachers of any kind and level, museum educators and professionals in the field of culture and education.
MAXXI’s Education Department has garnered a lot of experience in the field of education to architecture, starting from the construction of the extraordinary building by Zaha Hadid, thanks to activities and experimental projects conducted on museum spaces as well as modern and contemporary architecture, with the aim of rendering the language of architecture familiar to non-specialised audiences.
The conference aims at providing an overview of the best international practices in the field of education to architecture in order to understand the architectural landscape around us, raise awareness about the spaces of everyday life and contribute to the active definition of their qualitative and relational traits.
By enabling a direct interaction with the professionals who have created innovative projects for different audiences, thereby providing examples from which to draw inspiration, the conference provides an opportunity to discuss educational approaches, planning methodologies and practical instruments in order to “help understand the spatial essence of architecture, for everyone to be able to see the environments in which they spend most of their existence”.
The proposed methodology is based on a close relationship between theory and practice and draws upon the investigation into active pedagogies and collaborative working. It starts from the assumption of creating dynamics in continuity, namely by setting up courses of several sessions that allow to focus on different subject matters. The themes are completely transdisciplinar, in such a way that starting from the different scales of architecture, a symbiosis between history, art, geometry, science, music, mathematics or language is established. Under the name of Nenoarquitectura, each year the courses are organised into three trimesters of ten sessions each, with groups of children of 4 to 13 years old. They follow a program that is flexible both when it comes to the content as to the physical distribution, since in much of the sessions the groups are mixed – which strengthens the interaction between generations.
The program is centred around a basic session, which is remodelled in a flexible way during the course responding to the dynamics of each group. Depending on the year, common projects where all groups participate (families included) constitute the general curriculum: these projects pretend to be both practical and useful for the community, as they try to increase the childhood’s presence in the cultural actuality (service-learning). But the Lupo method doesn’t merely generate educational dynamics and projects, the material and the matter are very present through a dynamic vision of building blocks. The change of material and scale implies a change of the applied techniques: in this way the blocks range from the manufacturing technology of digital printers to the bioconstruction of hay bales, passing through industrialized foam or wood versions with a greater or lesser extent of craftmanship. The possibility to fabricate and mold the materials increases the participants’ involvement in the dynamics and allows a higher degree of diffusion through versions free of use and reproduction, far away from the usual hermeticism of the toy industry.
The big formats allow to work on collaborative processes, and the habitual demolitions of these constructions allow to work on the resilience of the group and the individual. The relationship individual – group is a recurrent theme within the elaboration of the dynamics, where the roles of the participants are generated/alternated, thus making each one of them a shareholder of the construction process.
In this way there are three fundamental moments that consist of one theoretical and two practical parts (a guided and a free or creative one) that don’t necessarily follow a strict chronological order. The struggle to play with routines and moments of surprise are always present in some way or another. The disassembly and cleaning up of the material at the end of each session is one of the routines that most define the method. The constructions are never left exposed or standing: once the session is finished, the children pick up the pieces and return them to the boxes, stacking them in a way that allows a high density (without leaving gaps). Much like someone that draws on a blackboard we do not pursue the eternity of our constructions nor their ownership, it’s a collaborative construction whereby the child returns home ‘only’ with the experience. There resides part of the method’s radicality…