Submissions are open for both scholarly and experimental articles on the crit for an upcoming issue of the ETH architectural history journal, gta papers.
Whether it is experienced as a courtroom, or as a competitive talent show, the crit is a rite of passage in architectural education—a drama in which students are asked to present and defend their work in front of an audience consisting of their peers, their teachers, and invited external experts. It can be both a tool of instruction, and a theatre of the absurd. The intersection of teachers, students and invited guests is both experienced as a forum for exchange, and as a sometimes confronting exposure of the collective privacy of the studio to external inspection.
In the contemporary period, in which other disciplines look towards architectural education for innovative teaching methods, those engaged in its everyday implementation have an interest in being able to clearly articulate where their pedagogical tools come from, or what purpose they serve. A close historical analysis of the crit reveals themes of power, discipline, the profession, and legitimisation that will inevitably touch on questions of class, gender, politics and symbolic authority. It may also reveal radical possibilities in experimental teaching, in process driven design and in the performative presentation of architectural ideas.
The historical origins of the crit can be traced back, in part, to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, but there are other influences in its formation: from the revolutionary salon, to the Bauhaus, to the postwar student movements. Can its history be more closely read to reveal the seams holding together what has become an unquestioned tradition? Can we imagine a different history for the crit, and perhaps a different future for it, in architectural education and practice?
The results that we seek to publish may be biographical, sociological or speculative. We actively seek diverse positions. This issue of gta papers might serve as a survival manual for the student confronted for the first time with the contingencies of the crit as a ritual, as well as an experimental handbook for the teacher, and as a historiographic guide to the scholar. Our editorial process will reflect this, in that the editorial team for this issue is a collaboration between historians and active design teachers.
Submit abstracts by 24 May 2021 to email@example.com.
If you would like to discuss your proposal, please contact Amy Perkins (perkins [at] arch.ethz.ch) or Jeremy Waterfield (waterfield [at] arch.ethz.ch).