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By : Jeffrey Haase

This paper describes a studio model that attempts to bridge the gap between conventional design studio settings and professional practice, by adopting design-build principles that incorporate experiential learning theory, derived from the early research of Dewey, Lewin, and Piaget. Part of the dichotomy of the profession is the dynamic difference in the established representational tools of the trade and the result of the built environment. This disconnect exists because the tools of the trade utilize two dimensional explanations about a three dimensional place, typically comprised of drawings in the form of plans, elevations, and perspectives. Additionally, there is a dynamic difference in scale that exists between these tools and the environments they represent. Thus, design educators tend to teach representational techniques without teaching a clear understanding of what they represent. This gap in education creates a gap in the profession. The described case studies outline an alternative studio model that is intended to introduce some of the "realities" often missing in a conventional studio approach. Each of the case studies involved second year Interior Design students, who were given the parameters of an existing space with specific user needs. The students had to design and then physically construct that interior environment all within a ten week time period (one academic quarter). By creating a more "hands-on" learning environment, it is the hope that students retain that knowledge in a more meaningful and lasting way, with the ability to transfer that experience over to similar situations in other studio settings and within the professional practice.
Keywords : Interior Design-Build, Alternative Studio.

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