Architecture Schools are BROKEN – But A Renaissance Is On Its Way

What is this page about & how to use


Architecture students of the world!

This page is for you.

On this page, you will read advice on how to change things in your university, so traditional architecture skills are taught and our world can move towards more beautiful, liveable architecture.

You’ll also find advice on how to do self study.

Under ‘Downloadable files’, you will find guides and letters that can help you to find your way in the world of traditional architecture and urbanism, or to get your university to change course.

First, we discuss some basic principles, then there are some general remarks, followed by activism tips and downloadable files.

For the Discord community, where you can find other students who want to learn traditional architecture, click here


Basic principles

First of all, I want to remind you of what happened at the NTNU in Norway. Students came in action and demanded that their university teach more about traditional and classical architecture. The university obliged and looked for a solution. One of the professors at NTNU, Branko Mitrovic, was able to give this education as he had the required knowledge and skills.

So, it is possible.

But: Not every university has professors that can give this education, but some might have teachers in heritage and architectural history or renovation techniques that might be able to start a course or expand into traditional architecture for new projects.

It is unrealistic to expect universities to totally change their curriculum immediately.

Think in small steps.

First, lobby for an elective course, a minor track or graduate / Masters track.

This track will be useful to gauge interest, and offer some of the necessary skills.

Next, this must be expanded in the undergrad programme, so undergrad students get the training they need to create beautiful, sustainable and humane places.

General remarks

This movement is not about ‘returning to the past’ out of nostalgia. It’s about using time tested & proven technologies (building traditions) to create beautiful, humane, livable and sustainable places for a better common future. 

To create places that are loved and sustained for a long time, there is no better way than to look at precedent or historical examples of how architects used to solve problems, and apply them for contemporary issues.

Often, with low tech solutions, proper construction techniques and adaptation to the local context, extremely durable and sustainable buildings can be created.

Also, with the skills of composition, proportioning, knowledge of ornament and decoration, buildings can be created that possess a timeless beauty and a wide appeal to both end user and society as a whole.

Innovation of form is still possible with traditional architecture. But first, we must master the techniques and the ‘language’ of design traditions. Once upon a time, Art Deco was a new invention, just like Art Nouveau. However, these styles built upon the traditions that came before.

We can again create new styles for a new future, but if we want those to be harmonious with existing, traditional buildings and have the same aesthetic, architectural and structural qualities, we must first ‘learn the ropes’ again and deeply understand how to create good buildings in the first place. The more architects undertake this project, the greater the chance that someone will achieve this.

Activism tips

Here is advice on how to achieve change in your university. This is a bottom up approach and might not be effective in all cases, but it worked in many places already!

  1. Be respectful and constructive at all times. Even if others are acting dismissive, petty or mean, a confident, professional and adult way of acting will give you the moral upper hand
  2. Find your peers. As said in the video, alone you don’t stand a good chance to change things in your university, but with others you might. Also, together you can do self-study to improve your skills and reignite your passion for architecture. It’s more fun too!
  3. Create an organisation / pressure group. If you have found enough students who care about this matter, you can create a group or student organisation to bring about change in your university. Having an organisation like this can make it easier to organise events, bringing us to the next point:
  4. Engage your fellow students with events. Some students might be more passionate about traditional architecture and learning traditional design skills than they initially think, they just need to see how useful these skills can be. By organising events like talks, excursions, debates, (hand)drawing courses, book clubs, you can grow interest among your peers.
    Examples of activities:

    1. Talk by guest lecturer
    2. Excursion to interesting architectural site
    3. Handdrawing / measured drawing activity. Learn to document interesting precedent by drawing
    4. Book club. Discuss an interesting book with topics you don’t discuss in university, like proportion or composition
    5. Debate. Organise a debate between people with various views on architecture, including traditional architecture
    6. Courses. Organise a course to teach certain skill sets, by inviting someone to your school like a Notre Dame graduate or a traditional architect
    7. City walks. Explore a nice city to learn about traditional design concepts
  5. Contact your university. Use the letter examples underneath to send to y0ur faculty, your dean or a professor to convince them to include traditional design skills in the curriculum. Be professional and show what value is in it for the students, what good it brings, and what benefits it would bring the university itself
  6. Spread the word. By organising events and engaging fellow students, perhaps even teachers, you can create a platform, or beachhead, in your university from which you can achieve change
  7. Join an Architecture Uprising. By doing so, you get in touch with the population you will be building for and start to see architecture through a different lens than your professors.
  8. Don’t give up. This process can take years if you face resistance – it might not be easy, at some schools, to achieve change at all. But don’t give up, as continued pressure will eventually lead to results.
  9. Have fun. See this experience as an enriching, challenging experience. Who do you want to be: the student who runs on autopilot, drifting along the stream, or the student who is able to change the course of history? Have some fun doing this, as those who have the most fun and vitality in their activities will attract the most support.
  10. Imagine that you succeed: all students that will follow  you, will benefit from your actions. You are able to really change something in this world – and just imagine you get to achieve that! How cool would that be?


Downloadable files

The Renaissance of Architecture Education – Your Guide
The Renaissance of Architecture Education – Your Guide
Size: 1,4 MB
Version: v1
Published: June 29, 2024
Letter to the dean / faculty / main professor
Version: v1
Published: June 29, 2024

Modernist arguments & rebuttal
Version: v.1