30 Oct 2017

Spirit of Learning: Inkuisitive

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Confucius

One of the key attributes that has facilitated the development of the human race from the homosapien hunters and foragers that lived 2.5  million years ago to the evolved society of the 21st century is its inquisitive nature. Its ability to explore new limits, learn new skills, acquire new wisdom and use this to bring about change set us apart. This quest for knowledge helped transform us from nomadic tribes to early settlers to the architects and urban planners of the megacities that exist today.

So how did mankind gain knowledge at a time when formal education did not exist?

Well, we learned from experimentation and experience, from observation and collaboration, from failure and disaster alike. We joined hands with nature, utilised its potential, got inspired by its beauty and grew stronger through its calamities. Our learning stemmed from hunger and thirst, from curiosity and wonder, from the joy of discovery and the natural instinct to evolve.
Systematic schooling and universities developed around the industrial revolution. They ensured that public education was modelled on the factory system of batches, strict timings, ringing bells and dates of graduation which we follow in our education system to date. Naturally, this new education system made learning restricted to a formal environment. It was therefore assumed by many that the process of learning also ceased to continue beyond this environment. The outcome has been that even today, learning is often compartmentalised, as we switch the learning mode on and off as we enter and exit the classroom…

Yet, as the evolution of human settlements has proven, the process of learning is continuous and seamless through structured and unstructured environments and cannot be restricted to a space or a social setting. One learns through everyday things and the people we meet, through conversations and observations and from life itself!

A lifetime can be seen as one long learning experience and hence it becomes critical that we fill it up with moments and lessons that can trigger ideas, stimulate the senses, lead to innovations and breakthroughs and take the human race forward. 

In the twentieth century, American educational theorist David Kolb put forth a new learning model which he termed as ‘Experiential  learning’. According to this theory, learning needs to go through a concrete experience followed by observation of and reflection on that
experience which leads to the formation of abstract concepts (analysis) and generalizations (conclusions) resulting in new experiences. Decades later, this belief in the theory of experiential learning and the quest to share it with the world brought together a young group of architects and educators under the banner of INKUISITIVE.

As the name suggests, INKUISITIVE strives to trigger the curiosity which often lies dormant in the human mind often numbed by the ressures of modern lifestyle. The team at INKUISITIVE recognises the different learning preferences as identified by the Kolb theory
and develops programs that build bridges between theory and real world experiences. Inspired by the Mario Ponzo’s geometrical optical illusion, Team INKUISITIVE believes that knowledge does not just equal to understanding but goes beyond that to explore something
deeper.

Team INKUISITIVE comes together to develop and execute programs for professional and budding architects to learn through real-world experiences, conversations, interaction, collaborations and hands-on training. They help inquisitive minds travel to varied destinations for habitat studies, Sketchpeditions (sketching expeditions) and study tours. They conduct workshops, explore building materials and technology and facilitate Master Class sessions with the gurus of modern architecture. These are designed not only to provide enriching experiences but also to break mental barriers and create environments to collaborate. By reaching out to professional architects and people from other fields, INKUISITIVE overcomes barriers of age and profession and reinforces the belief in lifelong learning. They help sensitise the participants to the finer nuances of the built environment and strive to bring about transformation through meaningful travel. Most of all, they respect the fact that every individual learns differently and reach out to them through different ways of learning.

Architecture is a craft which cannot be learnt in the confines of a studio alone. The quest for seeking architecture spreads its wings beyond the studio to the informal interaction spaces in the campus and further into the expanse of our buzzing cities, its streets, its buildings and
its people. It soars over the rural landscapes, over towns and villages, hidden hamlets and tribal settlements. It wanders high and low in search of ancient edifices, forts and palaces, mausoleums and temples, churches and museums; all silent witnesses to the history of human settlement. Above all, it nestles in nature and derives inspiration from its wondrous creations, their beauty and structure.

As they say – The adventure of life is to learn. Team INKUISITIVE comes together to ignite this spirit of learning from everything and everyone around us; the very spirit of humankind.

Author: MINAZ ANSARI
Minaz Ansari is an architect, writer, and educator and has worked in the industry for over a decade in various roles. She has trained with architects in Bangalore, Nashik, and Mumbai and has led various architectural and interior projects across the country. Over the years, Minaz has written for various publications and presented papers at national and international platforms. Her first book, NESTING IN NATURE – SANJAY PATIL, a monograph on the architect’s life was published in 2016 and reached out to readers across the world. Minaz is an Associate Professor at the Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai where she also heads the publication team. She is currently working on a series of children’s books. Write to her at minazansari04@gmail.com

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