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REALITY AND DIVERSITY: Reform in the Architectural Design Studio

By : Jia Beisi

Habraken points out that the architectural studio failed to bring students to basic questions in the architecture of everyday environments. Till criticizes that in a studio, it is only the professional value represented by the teachers that prevails. To investigate the reasons of the allegation, this paper introduces a learning model defined by David A. Kolb, in which a learning process consists of two dimensional movements: i.e., prehension (concrete experiences vs. abstract conceptualization) and transformation (reflection and experiment). The paper then inquires into Schön's observation in the studio learning mode characterized as reflection-in-action. It is found that this studio is mainly dealing with the transformation dimension, and prehension dimension is either suppressed or represented by the teacher's experiences and conceptions. The paper discovers that the cause of problems raised by Habraken and Till is the inherent lack of substance in the prehension dimension. The paper assesses a studio programme in which the basic questions of built environment were systematically introduced. It analyzes the students' reactions and performance in line with students' learning styles found using Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI). It suggests that the students' learning activities are more diversified than what Schön could perceive. There is a possibility to adapt students' personal experience and abstract conceptualization which may play into the studio. By enhancing diversity of learning styles rather than letting one's learning style (reflection-in- action) prevail, the studio may become a platform in which students may learn from each other.
Keywords : Architectural Studio, Learning Mode, Transformation, Prehension

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