‘In mixed reality environments, where the physical and virtual merge, every object has the potential to be smart. Every fitting, button, handle, knob, moulding, cornice, ledge has the potential to become a switch, gate, window, link to worlds beyond that in which they materially exist.’ (http://www.spacepopular.com/exhibitions/2019—the-venn-room) The move to online teaching and learning during the pandemic has presented significant challenges to the delivery of architecture and design education, especially in terms of transposing the ‘studio’ environment to a virtual alternative. The last few months have prompted a deep reflection on and rethinking of teaching and learning within its environs, not only with reference to the actual adaptation of physical space, but to the new and future interactions we can have within it. A physical and metaphorical entity, the design studio embraces and fosters collaboration beyond its physical borders. Drawing upon digital anthropology to frame its thesis, this paper will address the evolving relationship between humans and digital-era technology through an investigation of this scenario, and within the context of emerging pedagogy. The paper will begin by reviewing a year in the life of the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture course at Middlesex University in London, describing the use of digital platforms as an emergent spatial typology that has evolved through the Art School, from the atelier to the ‘unit’ of many contemporary UK architecture schools and beyond. Further it will investigate a future scenario where the design studio will exist as a mixed reality environment, progressing towards a seamless spatial/digital condition. The Augmented Studio, the teaching space able to be simultaneously physical and virtual, will become the landscape within which we prepare/shape/equip teaching and learning moving forward. What precedents exist for this augmented environment? How might these inform the evolution of a new typology and how will our future pedagogies continue to be shaped by digital-era technologies?
Francesca Murialdo BA. MSc (Hons). PhD. SFHEA, is Programme Leader for Interior Architecture at Middlesex University in London. She’s an architect and a PhD in Interior Architecture and Exhibition Design and she has practiced and taught Interiors from 1998 at the School of Architecture and at the School of Design, Politecnico di Milano, before moving to Middlesex University in 2015. Francesca’s research focuses on the scale, able to build connections between spaces, people and objects, underlining emerging behaviours and strategies.
Francesca has been invited to taught and lecture in institutions, Master Degrees and Undergraduate Programmes both in Italy and abroad (TU Delft, Lan Tao Culture Beijng, China Institute of Interior Design, Tongji University Shanghai, Hasselt Universiteit,..). She founded and directed two practices, Studiometrico and Labomint, and her work has been widely published worldwide being awarded ArchDaily Building of the Year 2009 and nominated for the Architecture Golden Medal of the Triennale di Milano in 2012. Francesca has a track record of published articles, papers and book chapters in addition to outcomes of practice-based research. She is co-director of Interior Educators, the national subject association which represents Interior Architecture and Spatial Design degree programmes the in UK and Ireland and Director for Research at European Interior Educators.
Naomi House is a designer, educator and writer. A Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture and Design at Middlesex University, her specific expertise is in the field of interiors and its psycho-spatial dimension. Pushing against the domestic interior as a typology that tends to be resistant to change, Naomi’s teaching and research practice focus on the agency of the interior and its role in informing everyday behaviors. She is particularly interested in the use of forensic methods as a strategy for exploring and questioning how objects, environments and their interactions can be analyzed, interpreted and animated. Alongside her role at Middlesex University, Naomi was a Tutor in Critical & Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art (2000-2018), as well as an Associate Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art (2018-2019). She has also tutored at The Cass, London Metropolitan University (2003-2006) and The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (1994-1996), and has been the Internal Moderator for both the MA Architecture and MA Fine Art/Painting programmes at the Royal College of Art. She is currently the External Examiner for BA Interior Design at Regents University in London and the new External Examiner for the BA Interior Design at the Glasgow School of Art. She is a member of the REF Committee for UoA32 at Middlesex University.
Rebecca Disney MA RCA FHEA, is a designer and educator. Her professional practice has evolved from the design and manufacture of bespoke furniture and lighting for the interior to the design and implementation of interior spaces, both domestic and commercial. She works collaboratively with Lanyon-Hogg Architects across a range of scale of projects that include a series of hotel refurbishments in central London, commercial meeting/office spaces and most recently, a small music rehearsal space in North London.
In parallel to her practice, Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture Design at Middlesex University where her primary concerns lie within the territory of affective reasoning; examining strategies and tactics employed within the process of designing interior and architectural spaces. In recent years, she has contributed to the Interior Educators platform IE:Studio Issue#4 and a portfolio of her study Affective Reasoning: Hidden Interiors was submitted to the 2021 Practice based Outputs REF UoA32 at Middlesex University.