Well-being in Architectural Education: Theory-building, Reflexive Methodology, and the 'Hidden Curriculum'

This paper forms an initial, preliminary part of a larger research project addressing how the wellbeing of architecture practitioners and students is affected by the specific work cultures, norms, and conventions that are socialised and entrenched within the discipline of architecture.

The paper draws on ideas and themes that emerged during twelve in-depth, semistructured pilot interviews with senior leadership figures in the architectural industry, and argues for the significance of the so-called “hidden curriculum”—where norms and cultures are implicitly taught within architecture and adopted by students as a rite of passage—in the relationship of architectural education to mental well-being among students and architects.

The paper critically reflects on these interviews to propose a theoretical framework within which we might understand, rethink, and revalue wellbeing in architectural education and the profession. In doing so, it hopes to make a methodological contribution to improved research design, and the assemblage of more rich, rigorous, and revealing research methods on this subject and in this field.

Ultimately, the paper suggests that the aspects of the discipline which are protective of mental health and well-being are inextricably entangled with the aspects which are problematic, and that reform in education cannot simply look to dismantle disciplinary codes or deliver more skills in good business practice. The paper proposes that the intersection of the two would lead to substantial reform in pedagogy, and in practice, to the benefit of all.

Link to the article here