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The Ecal Manual of Style book explores the intersection of architecture and education

Though an architectural education is extensive, the industry prides itself on a culture of lifelong learning — many professional organizations require continuing education as a condition of membership. Below, we round up three books that offer insight into innovative pedagogies set to shape the future of architecture and design education.

The ECAL Manual of Style
The Ecal Manual of Style book covered in stickers

Though the prestigious École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) was founded in 1821, its reputation for design excellence was solidified over the past two decades. The Swiss school’s faculty includes a who’s who of the design industry’s biggest names, from Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to Inga Sempé, so it’s no wonder that its list of alumni is similarly star-studded (think Ini Archibong and up-and-comer Sarah Yao-Rishea). The ECAL Manual of Style asks the fundamental question, How should design be taught today? The answers lie in responses from both industry leaders and the students themselves, which are illustrated through case studies of past academic projects. ECAL’s individualized approach to pedagogy — which embraces design philosophies as diverse as its student body — is the through line that ties them together. If you aren’t able to attend ECAL, this read is the next best thing.

Approaching Architecture
Approaching Architecture

The architectural profession is increasingly siloed, with research, education and practice often seen as separate entities. But this collection of essays is proof that the most fruitful works lie at the intersection of all three disciplines. With a foreword by Nader Tehrani, the anthology draws insights from 18 practitioners across the globe, including Japan’s Kengo Kuma & Associates and South Africa’s Heinrich Wolff. Each advocates for a multidisciplinary approach that rethinks what it means to study and practise architecture. As assistant professor at Toronto Metropolitan University Julia Jamrozik succinctly puts it in her chapter, “The objective of a studio should perhaps focus less on the design of space than on the design of the process of design.”

250 Things an Architect Should Know
250 Things an Architect Should Know

While there is much to be gained from a formal education, some things can only be learned through the school of hard knocks. This posthumous collection of work by renowned architect and critic Michael Sorkin offers many such valuable lessons. While his first entry, “the feel of cool marble under bare feet,” is design-adjacent, Sorkin’s musings range from technical know-how to “the proper proportions of a gin martini.” Filled with photographs, illustrations and archival images, the anthology imparts wisdom for architects and non-architects alike. Above all, it serves as a poignant reminder that the practice of design is as much a product of technical skill as of inherent curiosity — both an intellectual, creative pursuit and a fundamentally human experience.

Three Books to Add to Your Reading List This Back to School Season

Hit the books with publications that explore the intersection of design and pedagogy.

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