Importance, Situation and Educational Methods in Teaching the Course of "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture” in Architectural Education among Iranian Universities



"Introduction to Contemporary Architecture" is a required two unit course which is currently being taught to undergraduate students of architecture in Iranian universities. Wide ranges of methods are being used by its instructors around the country. However the teaching methods are usually based on two following main tends; 1- On one hand, a group of instructors recognize this course as a "conceptual" and "theoretical" course, which is totally different from architectural history courses. This group regards the mentioned course as one of the basic theoretical courses in teaching undergraduate level of architecture. From this group's point of view, "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture" should criticize the modern world while endeavoring to find solutions for its deficiencies such as identity crisis and so on. They believe that in scope of the mentioned course, the instructor should try to teach fundamental concepts of contemporary architecture. 2- On the other hand, another group of instructors regard the course of "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture" as a "kenning" course, which is based on architectural history courses. They believe the aim ofthis course to beteaching the undergraduate students of architecture about contemporary architectural events, as well as new buildings and their architects. From their point of view, the description designed for this course, should be based on quantitative knowledge of the architectural projects and introduction to examples of contemporary architecture. It can be perceived that both groups have enough proofs for their opinion and are not able to convince each other. Accordingly, the issue seems to be in the quantity of units that have been considered for the course of "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture". The dissidence on the historical periods being taught by the second group is another issue between the instructors of this course. Their chosen period is often based on their personal perception of the word "contemporary"; Some of them consider the events of current century, some others proceed the architecture in 20th century and early 21st, and the rest of them consider a vast era, starting from Gothic until the architecture of today. Surprisingly, the missing point of all above mentioned groups' points of view seems to be the “Contemporary Architecture of Iran”. This subject is apparently essential to be taught to Iranian undergraduate architecture students. "Contemporary Architecture of Iran”which is mentioned in the syllabus of the course of "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture", is usually ignored by its instructors.In addition, this subject is not even considered as a required or even elective course for undergraduate students of architecture in Iran. This study is proceeded to examine the teaching methods of the course of "Introduction to Contemporary Architecture", among Iranian universities and compare it to the similar courses which are being taught at some well-known universities around the world. The research is going to analyze the quality of syllabus and quantity of number of units considered for this course. Consequently, this study is aimed to promote the current situation oftheoretical courses in teaching undergraduate level ofarchitecture in Iranian universities.