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Crompton, E., Coucill, L., 2022.

Despite Disruptions: The Resilience of the Design Studio Model

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:A Focus on Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning And Research in The Modern Academy
Dates:20/4/2022 - 22/4/2022

Everyone remembers their first year at architecture school, but what makes a memorable year a great one and how can this be perpetuated in a distributed and digitally connected context?

Reflecting on over a decade of leadership, this paper introduces and discusses how a progressive design studio framework and a focus on personal trajectories have formed the basis for the pedagogical evolution of year one architecture at Manchester School of Architecture (MSA). Each year, MSA welcomes one of the largest and diverse cohorts of undergraduate architecture students in the UK. Diversity is essential in architectural production, but how can individuality be nurtured alongside the introduction to necessary professional architectural skills in a large student cohort?

The year one studio framework intentionally increases project scale and complexity throughout the year. Projects begin by exploring ideas of space through individual interests, experiences, culture and heritage. The nature and topic of personal trajectories has developed over the course of a decade and this year students were asked to identify a product manufactured near their home and to design spaces to make, sell and educate the public about that product. Celebrating diversity is a starting point to facilitate discourse on global and local challenges and international mobility; contextualised this year by significant global disruptions and amplified by the personal experience of physically distribution and smooth digital connectivity.

The framework has demonstrated resilience, not only to withstand the disruption of a global pandemic, but to facilitate a re-evaluation of located learning and teaching spaces. The pandemic has provided another opportunity to rethink and develop architectural pedagogy and by evaluating rapidly adopted remote teaching platforms and internationally distributed, digitally connected situations, the paper will review existing and emerging pedagogy at MSA to examine the future possibilities for located and remote design studio.