Architecture Education and the Return to the Humanities: Learning Architectural Design Through Dialogue With People and Place

Architecture Education and the Return to the Humanities: Learning Architectural Design Through Dialogue With People and Place

Foong Peng Veronica Ng (Taylor's University, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4080-9.ch016

Abstract

Literature on current architectural pedagogy have posited the issue that architectural education lacked change and questioned whether current studio teaching provides adequate design-thinking education and connection to the real world. The increasing importance on the relationship between architecture, community, and place sets a backdrop as a catalyst for improvement within the field, particularly in how this relationship frames the teaching and learning within the design studio. Using an architectural design studio module conducted in the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Architecture programme at Taylor's University, this chapter discusses the principles for an alternative design studio pedagogy and the values it brings about. The author argues that design education underpinned by “people” and “place” engages students' increased interesting and motivation for learning, with the awareness and sensitivities to the real and scholarly setting, hence bridging the gap between reality and education.
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Background

The State of Design Studio Pedagogy

The state of design studio pedagogy in recent years has been linked to complaints about poor performance of architects and the declining quality of buildings (Tzonis, 2014). Tzonis (2014) alluded to the lack of change in architectural education despite the dynamic changes of our times. In the paper Reflections on Architectural Design Education, Bashier’s (2014) problemitization of design studio reinforced that the design studio environment has remained the same throughout the past century.

As the Studio Culture Task Force of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) (Koch et al., 2006) noted, the ongoing changes in architecture education are not aligned with today’s changing world. The AIAS analysed design studio problem and expressed doubts on the effectiveness of current studio practices in providing adequate design-thinking education. The report indicated that design studio values appearances of design product rather than the design process, resulting in the emphasis on form-making rather than meaningful architecture. Anthony Antoniades (1992), in the book Poetics of Architecture: Theory of Design has raised similar concerns over form-making, and presented varied approaches to design studios based on the different ‘channels of creativity’ in order to stimulate imagination and create design. Although the literature and reports are Western-centric, these issues are common in architecture schools, which include the lack of a clearly defined design methodology, as well as the gradually emerging global call for consideration of social responsibility and the ethical function of architects. This poses a gap between architecture education and the real world.

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