LEARNING TO LEARN
After more than 50 years as a professor at Madrid’s Polytechnic University, the UPM, in the Madrid School of Architecture, the ETSAM, and having taught at some of the most renowned Schools of Architecture in the world, I am honored to have been invited as Projects Professor by the prestigious NYIT in New York.
For me this represents not only an undeserved honor, but an opportunity to place all my knowledge at the service of my American students, and all my enthusiasm.
I’ve always said that as a teacher one learns more than one teaches. I’ve been teaching for so many years and have never given up learning. There is a wonderful pencil drawing by Goya in the Prado Museum in Madrid that depicts an old man with long white hair and a long white beard, on which the 74-year-old Goya writes: I AM STILL LEARNING. So there you are, I’m here in the NYIT this year to learn, using ZOOM on account of the darned pandemic.
I intend to give practical Project classes to my students, which will be combined with occasional theory classes. Every Tuesday and Friday, three hours a day, from this January until May.
In the first weeks of this Spring semester beginning on 26th January we’ll start out – just as I did as a student at the ETSAM, in Madrid, under Alejandro de la Sota – with the exercise of the Dream House.
From there we’ll continue with the tower exercise: a skyscraper in Manhattan, where Mies Van der Rohe’s Seagram is now located. Designing a skyscraper, every architect’s dream! With the tower exercise we’ll reach the end of the course, discovering in detail with each of the parts: idea, implementation, structure, materials, construction, etc.
From time to time, I’ll be giving theory classes on subjects that I consider fundamental for an architect: Beauty, Light, Gravity, Time, Wisdom, Intellectual Enjoyment, and others.
I think we’re going to enjoy it in the way that is only possible through study. My father, who was an eminent surgeon and died at the age of 104, was always studying. We, his children, always saw him studying. That’s the way I’d like to be, and that’s the way I’d like you, my NYIT students, to be. Oh, how I wish I were a student now! This is my attempt.