Unlike the word "education", in which one can hear the idea of transferring an "image" from a teacher to a student, the word "nurturing" is more likely to be associated with "feeding" - that is, transferring energy. "An image" is a separate entity, independent from both the student and the teacher. To transmit the energy one needs to possess it and it is impossible to project it if there is no direct contact. The mission of nurturing is to heat up the water.
To be sensitive, thoughtful, responsible are the qualities we believe to be most important for an architect today. They refer to the value system, and some imperative, furthermore values are more the subject of nurturing than of education. Knowledge of history, for example, dates of construction and names of architects, structure details and the style features of monuments makes the architect neither more or less attentive towards the existing urban environment. But wondering about the role of history, even if it comes to childhood memories, can make him more sensitive to other people's memories related to a particular house with its exceptional brickwork or a street curve that allows the sun ray to fall at a specific angle. Information on the physical properties of the materials that are contained in the handbook and the knowledge of which can be checked during exams is unlikely to be the basis for an aesthetic choice between wood and stone. Only a strong ability to feel can help. It may not always be connected to the ability to put something in words, but always prompts a need to make a decision based not only on criteria of cost and efficiency, but on feeling the texture, colour, reflection and absorption of light, ageing, weather and atmospheric events with your own, special, individual instinct.
Is the idea of nurturing appropriate in the conversation about "higher professional education"? Children are nurtured and professionals are educated some may say. There are two points to make here. First, if there had ever been a holistic view of an architectural curriculum, it had been lost by the end of the twentieth century. And it is unlikely that this coherence can be found again. Hardly anyone will be able to identify the knowledge and skills necessary for the architect today. Except there is something that can be called the core of the profession. There is also the periphery of the profession and education, and often they outweigh the core. In fact, the periphery can move away, move closer, but only the core is unchanged throughout the history of humankind. The most intriguing and profound challenge is always to find this core within the educational process, and it is the understanding of this continuously elusive core of the profession that is the only important subject.
Secondly, after all the technological revolutions and social transformations of the last century, today, surprisingly, professionalism becomes dangerous. It produces the average construction activity. But architecture is more than just construction. And it does not always emerge due to professionalism, but often - contrary to it. I discovered this quite early, right after graduating and working in the Mosproyekt-1 organisation. I was instructed to make some proposals for a hotel, and I started drawing something. The foreman looked at me and said: "Stop this, make a 6x6 grid and start working." Such professionalism is a dangerous thing because it is inextricably linked with the automatic action in making decisions, eliminating not only the need but also the very possibility of feeling, thinking and responding. If the school does not set the value system, does not nurture, but only passes on professional skills, then it prepares the person for such automatic actions.
However, unlike boiling a kettle, nurturing is a more subtle process, almost alchemy, producing gold from mercury. How does this alchemy happen in the course of teaching? No methodology can be described, and following certain rules, provide a similar result. The workflow and interaction with students to the slightest intonation take centre stage. My teachers talked with me about simple things, something I found most useful. When I designed an interior for yet another club, Mikhail Osipovich Barsch said: "Zhenya, do you know the painter Dufy? I would suggest painting the sea seen from the window of your club like Dufy." These words, not directly related to the task of the project, were more important to me than other directions and affected my project awareness more than all systematic instructions.
Such interactions can be accidental, depending only on the will of the teacher and student and, ultimately, everything depends on their will. But if we talk about the method in which this alchemy has a place, and which can be common to the school, rather than the initiative of separate people, then we can talk about the process of rational or reflexive design.