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Open Access Against a pedagogical colonization: the case of the School of Architecture at the University of Costa Rica

After a year studying at the Department of Development and Tropical Studies, and the Architectural Association in London, the Costa Rican architects Rafael "Felo" García, Jorge Bertheau and Edgar Brenes travelled back to Costa Rica to coordinate the opening of the country's first school of architecture. The School was going to be part of the University of Costa Rica, the country's most powerful academic institution. The three architects had devised an experimental educational method for the new school, roughly contained in a short dissertation called Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Architectural Education. The pedagogical system proposed an absolute rupture with European methods of teaching architecture. This paper explores the School's pedagogical system main propositions regarding education, its links to the Department of Tropical Studies and to characters, such as Otto H. Koenigsberger and Michael Lloyd, who interacted with the three Costa Rican architects along the process of creating the School's system. Analysis suggests that in the case of the School of Architecture at the University of Costa Rica, implementing an experimental teaching system served as a way to liberate architectural education from what can be referred to as "pedagogical colonisation:" the continuous use of foreign methods, both Beaux Arts and Modern, that inevitably reinforced an unbalanced relationship between Western metropolis and developing countries in terms of access to architectural knowledge.

Keywords: ARQUIS; COSTA RICAN ARCHITECTURE; EDGAR BRENES; JORGE BERTHEAU; OTTO KOENIGSBERGER; RAFAEL "FELO" GARCÍA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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