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Djabarouti, J., O'Flaherty, C., 2019.

Experiential learning with building craft in the architectural design studio: A pilot study exploring its implications for built heritage in the UK

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Thinking Skills and Creativity
Pagination:pp. 102-113

There is evidence of architectural learning being a product of both theoretical and practical knowledge, with traditional building craft being part of the original route to becoming an architect, or 'master builder'. With formalised schools of architecture emerging within the Beaux-Arts period, the educational pathway for architects distanced itself from practical 'on-site' experience, ultimately removing building craft from architectural pedagogy. This lack of experiential hands-on learning within architectural education could impact an architect's ability to deliver appropriate design solutions when working with built heritage, where the knowledge of traditional building is of great importance. The impact of experiential learning was investigated within the architectural design studio, using a pilot study comparison experiment with two groups of architecture students. One of the groups was exposed to a hands-on building craft exercise (the other group was not)and the impact of this exposure was tested using a design task. The differences between the two groups approach to the design task were analysed using a one-way ANOVA. The findings of the research suggest that the incorporation of experiential hands-on learning within the architectural design studio could enhance the students' ability to better understand the complexities of building materials, which in-turn could contribute towards more effective design solutions when working with built heritage. However, the process of implementing the pilot study revealed economic and logistical constraints which are perhaps reflective of the wider barriers that architectural institutions are confronted with when attempting to integrate this method of learning within the architectural design studio.