Architectural Design, as an educational pedagogy, puts emphasis on design as a critical learning process, a process this is iterative and transformative. Overviewing the recent strategies of teaching from a studio base to an online platform has bought with it many challenges including but not restricted to, the development of criticality within the learner environment. The quality of studio teaching is within its capacity to offer experiential learning, that is learning where active participation informs the quantity of knowledge acquired. This, in a studio environment, occurs passively through the shared discussion between learners and learner/tutor engagements and actively through the iterative design process, a physical means of learning through doing that involves 2D and 3D modelling and materiality exploration. A key challenge lies in the role of assessment within a creative learning context. In architectural studio courses this has traditionally occurred through a design critique (crit), a formal process whereby learners present orally to a review panel, with drawings and models as supporting evidence. The crit offers the learner the potential to generate or instigate criticality, however there is tension that exists within this procedure that examines (summative) product over (formative) process. By nature, this teacher-centric approach reinforces a power dynamic rather than a collaborative dialogue. Reviewing the key role that critique has in a contemporary setting, i.e., one that potentially is remote, has revealed an opportunity for re-framing the crit as a purely formative process within architectural studio practice. Recent enforced distance learning strategies have served as a catalyst to interrogate the status quo, by engaging learners through a process of peer and self-review. Findings suggest the opportunities for creative discourse and development are critically amplified through this methodology. Re-aligning the crit as an experiential learning opportunity within the pedagogical approach empowers the learner to take action and make meaning, shifting the context from passive to active.
Colleen Fay is a senior lecturer at Otago Polytechnic. Her research interests lie in the pedagogy of architecture education specifically within the studio practices of both design and theory and the potential dialogues that are somewhat shared with other creative disciplines engaging in the physical and conceptual development of learners.
Sarah McCallum is a lecturer at Otago Polytechnic. She has a foundation in architectural practice and is passionate about the merging of educational pedagogy and workplace relevancy. She primarily teaches architectural design studio courses across an undergraduate programme. Current research focuses on interrogating educational practice in an environment that is experiencing rapid change.