Diverse working environments have emerged as new generations redefine how to learn and contribute to society. Disciplinary boundaries are blurred. Architecture and urban design experimentation involve a range of new ideas and disciplines, including crowdsource funding, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, open-source community laboratories, localized energy, e-government, high-throughput computation, biotechnology, and ecological principles. The emergence of innovative educational models is critical when much instability arises from global shifts economically, socially, politically, environmentally, and technologically. This research projects highlights contemporary urban design education models through the studio culture perspective with the case study example of the ETH Urban Prototype design studio. Gaining greater insight into urban design education and its pedagogical and didactic strategies would yield useful information about the emerging teaching paradigms and knowledge creation, with applications at many scales. Focusing on urban design studio teaching can help develop adaptive theories and pedagogical methods and potentially inform future policy objectives. If urban design is the discipline that addresses global urbanization in all its complexities, there are teaching practices engaging with urban design on these terms. How this can translate to new strategies must be investigated. The objective is to engage advanced studio teaching through the following disparate filters; digitalization, institutional change, local authorities, federal governments, accreditation, competitions, administrative tasks, budget cuts, and the emergence of collaborative practices moving away from individualist thinking. Urban design education needs to be prepared for a profession in continuous change. New concepts, roles, and tools for emerging urban design practice, research, and teaching require changes and experimentation in its educational principles. Schools need to be prepared to address global urban ecological issues in the built environment and disseminate these practices in pedagogical development. The intention is to develop novel approaches within the methods and forms of pedagogy through the element of the design studio.
Melanie is Principal of TerreformX Europe. She is an architect and urban designer with over a decade of professional experience. Currently, Melanie is a Lecturer, Academic Coordinator, and Doctoral Researcher at the ETH Zurich, Department of Architecture. Her academic teaching experience includes; ETH, Lawrence Tech University, NYU, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University. Previously, she was Head of Design Development for Alice Aycock Ltd., and Founding Member at ONE LAB. Melanie is a former Associate Fellow with the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. She won numerous awards; LafargeHolcim Award for North America, AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, and the Victor Papanek Social Design Award. She is the co-author of “Ecotarium: Unlimited Lifecycle Design”. Her work has been published in; “Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities” (ACTAR), “XXL-XS New Directions in Ecological Design” (ACTAR), and “Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture” (Applied Research & Design). Her work has been exhibited at White Box Gallery NYC, DOX Center for Contemporary Art Prague, MASS MoCA North Adams, DAZ Berlin, OCAD Toronto, NAI Rotterdam, Venice Biennale, MAK Vienna. Melanie earned: M.Arch The Cooper Union, Dipl.- Ing. Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.