Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole (Stephanie)



Sep '09 - Dec '11

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    Final 'Review'.... just... Wow.

    By Stephanie
    Dec 15, '10 5:56 AM EST

    "The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - School of Architecture"

    What a presumptuous name for this po-dunk school!

    You wouldn't believe the last week.

    Because there was no coordination of the schedule, we had a final presentation in our construction tech class on Monday, and our final review for Design on Tuesday.

    Since there are no copy shops open on Sundays or anytime past 5 in Copenhagen, the only day we had to print our stuff was Monday. And... we had to be in the final presentation for construction tech. For 6 hours.

    Because of this, most of the class plan to print on A3 from the printers in the studio and tape them together, which would have been fine except... the school network went down for 6 hours on Monday night and we couldn't print anything.

    While the network is down, the instructor sends a last minute email with an alteration in the presentation schedule, which none of us can see until about midnight when the network gets back up and running.

    Nicely done, school administration!


    We arrive for the critique early on Tuesday, only to find, that the instructor did not book a room for us to present in.

    So we end up in a meeting room that can comfortably fit about 12 people and one poster. As a result, we have to pin up and pin down one at a time, our work is on the wall for 30 minutes, and the air becomes insufferably stuffy and smells like stale sweating bodies after one hour.

    Once again, nicely done!

    There were no guest critics. Or not what would typically be considered guests. Present at the critique are our two part-time instructors, the head of the department, and 2 other part-time teachers in the department. All of whom, except one, have been educated AT THIS INSTITUTION, IN THIS DEPARTMENT.

    In-breeding much?

    The critique proceeds in a dismal fashion. At some very early point the instructors decide 'to hell with objective criticism--let's get down and dirty' and proceed to publicly humiliate several students over the state of not only their projects, but their former academic history and desire to pursue architecture as a degree.

    In short, the Danish instructors come out as fools and any shred of respect I had for them as professionals is lost.

    The class is left in a state of disbelief and utter dissatisfaction. A student tries to explain how irritating it is when we spend a lot of time and money on our presentations, only to have an inappropriate space to present in. The point is completely lost on the Danish instructors, to which the concept of exhibiting ones work appears completely alien.

    I wish that what I was saying was completely false. But this is how it happened.

    The way they acted today makes it hard to think they have the ability to give any critical advice in the future. It seems they just react fast on their emotion and allow their mouths to run free with whatever word-vomit comes to mind.

    My theory about how this happened is:

    At normal universities, you have professionals and instructors who are devoted to their work and their role as teacher rather than a blind devotion to the institution they work for. I could be wrong about this, it's just a feeling i have.

    Here, however, there is much educational dogma that must be preserved and protected in order for the Danish Way to pass down through the masses. Until now, I've never been to a place that actively defends the pedagogy of the school in such an fanatic and unrelenting manner.

    The atmosphere for learning is poisoned here. I have accepted that I must just pursue my interests with as much dedication and motivation as I can muster on my own, and try to find the positive where i can.

    It's too bad that this international program can't offer anything of value to my education, but hey. Shit happens. I'm not a baby--I can make my own way.


    • Helsinki

      Well, that does sound bad... Not just the "pragmatic/conservative modern vs. experimental/theory driven" - rift that one could argue is the most clear difference between nordic countries and the US regarding the teaching of architecture. But really - a proper breakdown of the actual framework of teaching and learning. too bad.

      Enjoy Copenhagen and Danish architecture "in situ" as much as possible.

      Dec 15, 10 7:14 am  · 
      Lian Chikako Chang

      Oh. Sorry to hear that. This sounds bad.

      Dec 15, 10 12:32 pm  · 

      Ha! I find this somewhat humorous. We had an exchange student last year from the Royal Danish Academy. He always complained about how structured our studios were and how organized we were.

      Like you, I think I'd find the situation equally frustrating.

      Dec 16, 10 11:25 pm  · 
      Roberto Costa

      very frustrating.
      and surprising to hear this about the Kunstacademiets.

      holmen and christianshavn must be looking rather lovely this time of the year.

      Dec 18, 10 6:28 pm  · 

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