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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
IV 1980 - 1990
Teaching Architecture

My office was now more compact.  There was about ten of us, and I was able to spend much more time on the drawing board.  Arne Jacobson had warned me many years before, never to have more than eight people in my office if I wanted to remain a creative architect.  In principal he was right, but only I now began to appreciate what he meant.  In all honesty, it was not my intention to have such a large office as I had during the1970's.  It was imposed upon me by the great amount of fascinating projects, which I suddenly received.  It luckily came at an age when I had the energy to handle both the creative work, the administrative burdens and what Mr. Kokia had called the ‘running around’.  Now, in spite of the fact that I was at least two days a week traveling to site meetings, I also found the time and the need to teach. Soon after returning from Boston, I felt that I wanted to somehow to continue my studies. The best way to do it I believed was to teach in an Academic Institution.   I had started teaching intermittently from 1968, as an 'Adjunct Senior Teaching Associate' (whatever that meant in the Germanic academic jargon of the Technion).  At that time, there was only one Faculty of Architecture in Israel and that was at the Technion (Institute of Technology) in Haifa.  It took me a few years to find my  academic feet, but with a little more time on my hands I began to feel that I could make a serious contribution to the education of young architects. I was also developing my own ideas about the end product of architectural education.  It was different than many of my colleagues at the Faculty of Architecture in the Technion, but that was an additional reason to teach.

     For the first few years my teaching was in the framework of what is called 'the studio.  I had 15-20 students who would carry out an architectural project under my tuition.  The type and complexity of the subject would be according to the student's year of study.  I generally taught third and fourth year students. When I was appointed a Professor in 1987, I concentrated on the fifth and final year.  After some few years, I was able to augment my studio work with a seminar for a number of selected students.  It was a form of teaching which I had been acquainted with as a student myself at M.I.T. and I found it much more fulfilling. My seminars were also open to students other than architects.  I particularly liked having landscape and transport engineering students.  They came to me 'clean', you might say, without the contamination of pseudo architectural theories, which were being foisted upon many of our architectural students by some of the professional journals and not a few of the guest lecturers from abroad.  It was depressing to sit through the ego-trips of some of these "international gurus" and pitiable to witness the provinciality displayed by students and young and not so young Israeli architects, who lapped it all up with indiscriminate applause.  On the other hand it was such a pleasure to attend the lecture of a really learned but lesser known name, who would not only deliver his lecture but engage his audience in a serious discourse, sadly with often only a mere handful of students and the odd concientious teacher or two.

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