Critical Reasoning Question 13-Architecture Schools

Out architecture schools must be doing something wrong.  Almost monthly we hear of domes and walkways collapsing in public places, causeing great harm to human life.  In their pursuit of some dubious aesthetic, architects design buildings that sway, crumble, and even shed windows into our cities’ streets.  This kind of incompetence will disappear only when the curricula of our architecture schools devote less time to so-called artistic considerations and more time to the basics of good design.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the argument above?

A.  All architecture students are given training in basic physics and mechanics.

B.  Most of the problems with modern buildings stem from poor construction rather than poor design.

C.  Less than 50% of the curriculum at most architecture schools is devoted to aesthetics.

D.  Most buildings manage to stay in place well past their projected life expectancies.

E.  Architects study as long and as intensively as most other  professionals.

Think you know the answer?

The correct answer is B.

Since the author concludes from evidence of collapsing buildings that architecture schools should spend more time teaching “the basics of good design,”  she obviously assumes that the buildings are falling down because of poor design, not poor construction.  (B) destroys the argument by demolishing this assumption.

The author claims architecture schools don’t focus enough on basic design, not basic physics and mechanics, so (A)’s no weakener.  As for (C), the author never spells out how much of the curriculum should be spent on design, so more than half may not be enough for her.  (D) distorts the argument-the author never claimed that most buildings are falling down, so the fact that most of them stay up doesn’t matter.  As for (E), other professionals are beyond the scope-the issue is how much architecture schools focus on basic design rather than on more lofty artistic concerns.

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