Research in Architectural Education: Theory and Practice of Visual Training

visual training architectural education pedagogical research


Vol. 13 No. 1 (2016)
Research Articles
December 12, 2016


Today, the significance of vision is often considered from multiple points of view including perceptual, cognitive, imaginative, historical, technical, ethical, cultural, and critical perspectives.  Visual Studies, Visual Communication and Visual Design are popular courses of study found in many programs of higher education. This paper centers on a course called Visual Training within the domain of architectural education.

To illustrate the pedagogical significance of the 78-year old practice, a methodology of Visual Training as it has been conducted at Illinois Institute of Technology is presented.  The paper describes the program of exercises used, and through an interpretation of the course outcomes, it reveals the course structure and pedagogical theory. The discussion shows how Visual Training establishes grounds for architectural critique based on visual perception and aesthetic judgment. In looking at this case of Visual Training, the paper revisits some of the fundamental premises of architectural pedagogy – from methods to ideals – and challenges assumptions about the role of vision in education by calling attention to existing biases shaping many of today's programs.