Vassilis Volakos grew up in Laconia in Greece and comes from a theoretical background with interests in art, philosophy and poetry. He began his studies in architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University (BA) where his technical and technological knowledge was later infused with his imagination cultivated at Oxford Brookes University (Grad.Dip). The progress of his studies affected his view on architecture as a balance between logos and mythos; logic and narrative; knowledge and imagination. After his studies, he practiced architecture for two years in Athens. He returned to the UK for a Master of Arts program in Architectural and Urban Studies at Brighton University. He is currently working on a PhD at the Welsh School of Architecture. Except for architectural pedagogy and tertiary education, which forms the wider area of his research, his interests expand on philosophy of architecture and theory.
"I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think." Socrates
At the start of his architectural studies Vassilis was told that in his first year he should learn to stand up, in the second year walk, and in the third year run. He found, however, that by the end of the first year what is essential is not to be ready to walk and then to run, but to know how to control balance and then speed. Thinking critically is the means to control and acquire this balance. Based on the dialectic method of Socrates, the aim of this research is to identify the principles under which a multi-party dialogue can be conducted in review sessions of small groups and cultivate critical thinking for all its participants. The research will focus on mapping the Socratic dialectic, as this has evolved to date, by building on the existing literature. The review session will also be the object of mapping, supported by personal observation and interviews with students. The ultimate objective is to develop a set of principles that are adapted on architectural pedagogy and on the context of the review session. This set of principles could potentially adapted by educators in a way that suits and reflects their teaching style. The outcomes may also have an effect on how the design studio prepares the students for review sessions.