The idea behind the original “Public School” (PSFA), initiated in Los Angeles in 2007, was to create an open online platform for autodidacts around the world to self-organise and exchange knowledge without college fees and without accredited teachers. The idea has blossomed and now groups of people organise in numerous cities around the world to do just that. Two of these have so far been geared specifically towards architecture.
In 2009, Common Room and Telic Arts Exchange started a Public School for Architecture in New York City – this has since dropped “architecture” from its name and expanded beyond the discipline. But this year in Brussels, Common Room, Telic Arts Exchange, and Recyclart came together to launch a new PSFA, with the goal of “creating a public for architecture while opening up architecture for the public”. Rather than a pre-established curriculum, the PSFA-BXL allows users to propose classes, and when enough interest is shown the class becomes open for scheduling – “forming communities independent of institutional interests”, a space where “architecture can become political again”, according to initiator Lars Fischer from Common Room. Most classes are discussion-based, but many include workshops. It’s still architecture – just expanded, or maybe exploded. p (ew)