Destabilising the studio - teaching architectural design in China
van Raat, Tony
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Citation:van Raat, T. (2010). Destabilising the studio - teaching architectural design in China. In G. Forsyth (Ed.). Proceedings of ConnectED 2010 - 2nd International Conference on Design Education, Sydney. Retrieved from http://connected2010.eproceedings.com.au/abstracts.html
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1570
Cooperative ventures in international education frequently involve transitioning students from one learning paradigm to another. This is particularly the case in joint programmes in architecture where lateral thinking and creativity, often assumed to be characteristics of western education, encounter a more didactic and teacher-focussed educational model in developing countries. This paper explores the strategies that have been employed in joint programmes in architecture developed between an educational provider in New Zealand and China. Many Chinese students are accustomed to an education "which emphasises not only the technical aspects of the discipline but also encourages them to generate responses to architectural problems based on a formulaic understanding of fundamental typologies. In order to prepare them for a more lateral and exploratory educational experience in the west it has proven necessary to first destabilise their understandings of the design process before introducing them to design studio projects typical of Australasian architecture programmes. This strategy described in this paper has been developed over 6 years of experience in teaching joint courses in several Universities in China, the students from which may transition into a programme in New Zealand and thereafter work globally. It is founded on an appreciation of work undertaken by the anthropologist Gregory Bateson and others on how people model their experiences of the world and how the adoption of new models can enlarge human creativity. Derived from this a major subtext to this project is to develop in the students' minds the conception of architecture as a humanistic discipline by replacing a model which emphasise the centrality of technology and 'given' solutions with one concerned with a less certain and more flexible, more intense and more personalised involvement with the questions which the next generation of architects will need to answer.