Becoming Cosmopolitan Citizen-Architects: An Educator's Reflections on Architectural Education Across the Nordic Baltic Academy of Architecture

Massimo Santanicchia


This article uses a constructivist grounded theory approach to analyse interviews conducted with 29 educators from 16 schools of the Nordic Baltic Academy of Architecture. The findings reveal that a fundamental value for architectural education is the willingness to form cosmopolitan citizens: civic-minded, engaged professionals who know that the betterment of their community is intimately related to the betterment of the world. Becoming a cosmopolitan citizen- architect is a complex journey requiring an inclusive and collaborative learning environment that fosters students capacity to understand, imagine and act for a better world. The interviews reveal 15 fundamental traits necessary for becoming cosmopolitan citizen-architects: concern, commitment, critical thinking, courage, confidence, competence, cognition, comprehension, creativity, collaboration, cooperation, consilience, connectedness, communication and most importantly care. Furthermore, the data suggest several societal roles for architects to take on: dissident intellectual, ethical professional, engaged storyteller, co-creative partner and carer of the world. These findings have then been positioned in relation to a theoretical framework of critical pedagogy and citizenship education, to ultimately formulate a practical theory of architectural education: Cosmopolitan Citizenship Architectural Education. This article finally argues for the theorys importance in renewing architectural education, with the aim of increasing students responsibility and agency for shaping a more just and caring built environment.

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