archi-med.es project was an experiment. It was an initiative to (re)consider, through the collaboration among schools of architecture, professional bodies and interdisciplinary teams, the education of the architects in the Mediterranean and European South (MED.ES). Taking into account the competitive internationalization of higher (architectural) education, the project had as its main aim to develop strategies and policies for sustainable academic and professional growth, enhancement of quality and excellence, based upon local strengths and particularities. Four interdependent parameters motivated this initiative:

The threat of European diversity due to the ways European policies on higher education were implemented by institutions leading  to their homogenization rather than to the expected harmonization. The fast changes happening in our interdependent societies making the profile of the architect unpredictable for the near future raising important responsibilities to schools of architecture who continue to educate architects according to what an architect is today. The financial crisis which ruthlessly affected  the countries of the European South and created very frustrated conditions for architectural education and high unemployment in professional practice. The significant changes happened in the way we understand learning and teaching shifting from a teacher-based to student-based education, an input-oriented pedagogy to an output-oriented one, from knowledge-based priorities to competences-based priorities, from a problem-based to a project-based education.

archi-med.es project was planned to be an experimental laboratory for strategies and policies for architectural education in the MEDES Countries aiming at: -raising awareness of the need for specific graduates’ profiles knowledge breadth, creative skills and competences appropriate to local demands and needs so that their graduates can be more flexible and creative both in the local and international labour market. -supporting, elaborating and providing teaching approaches and specific pedagogies able to assure creativity and other learning outcomes appropriate for the local needs and demands. -elaborating incentives to support a diversity of strategic choices for curricula development through which partner SA could be able to develop regional hubs of excellence and eventual specialization. -encouraging partners to reveal and to intensify efforts on their individual strengths. -enhancing the relevance of available human capital through structures of staff development. -strengthening the collaboration among SA encountering similar problems, demands and needs.

The development of the project was based upon four main (hypo)theses:

  1. There is not a single excellence model.
  2. It is a mistake nowadays to educate architects on the basis of what an architect  today is.
  3. Schools of architecture must expand the existing spectrum of learning outcomes.
  4. The definition of the expected profile of the graduate is a necessary condition for a sustainable academic growth of the School.

The proposed methodological approach stated that this must be done through two different and simultaneous paths.

The one was a bottom-up path which wa looking towards the local conditions and needs and tries to structure architects’ profile based upon what the local society needs or expects from a graduate architect as to what he/she had to know, be able to do and be competent to think. The second was a top-down path, which started upon what is conceived, at European level, (policies, associations, previous programs) as the appropriate profile of the architect. An experiment of a limited number of partners aiming, through its activities and initiatives, to encourage the establishment of a new culture among schools of architecture, the profession and society in MEDES Countries.

The project ran inquiries, consultations and data collection as well as processing in order to define architectural profiles appropriate for the particularities of MEDES Countries.  It elaborated teaching approaches and pedagogical strategies assuring these profiles. The project also organised student workshops and staff training seminars as well as international conferences on the above issues.

archi-med.es project nourished a collaboration Culture between education and practice, a strategic development culture by the institutions dealing with architectural creation, creativity culture encouraging innovation and lateral thinking, and a quality culture conceived as emerging from an interdependent world.

archi-med.es project was funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union, under Key Action 2: Co-operation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices . It started on September 1st, 2014 and concluded the initial work on August 31, 2017.