Revitalizing Architectural Design Studio Teaching Using ICT: Reflections on Practical Implementations

By Reffat, Rabee | International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, March 2007 | Go to article overview
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Revitalizing Architectural Design Studio Teaching Using ICT: Reflections on Practical Implementations


Reffat, Rabee, International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology


ABSTRACT

The advancements in ICT are reshaping the architectural design studio teaching and design practices. The digital-imperative to switch from analogue to digital mode has already begun to manifest itself at the schools of design. This paper introduces the application of two approaches representing various dimensions of revitalizing architectural design studio teaching using ICT: paperless design studio and collaborative virtual design studio. The paper reflects on the practical implementations of these two approaches including design process, communication and presentation, studio pedagogy, and students' learning. The next step ahead for architectural design studio teaching in which ICT acts as a partner is introduced.

Keywords: Architectural design studio teaching; paperless design studio; virtual design studio; digital design education.

INTRODUCTION

The digital-imperative to switch from analogue to digital mode has already begun to manifest itself at the schools of design and architecture. Design and architecture students routinely use the best of new technologies that provide information-rich and fully networked multimedia environments (Muir & O'Neill, 1994). The developments in design computing and digital media in the last decades have been phenomenal and what the next decade will bring can only be imagined. However the advancements in digital design and communications are already reshaping architectural design studio teaching and design practice. On the other hand, some of the design and architecture schools are still using manual techniques similar to those used at the beginning of the last century. For long time, design studio activities have been carried out using manual sketching, drawings and physical modeling. Since the late 1980s architecture and architectural education have witnessed an important transformation with the introduction of computers and information and communication technology (ICT) in which they have become pervasive in all aspects of practice and education. The pervasiveness of information and communication technology in architectural education and practice has been manifested in the growing proportion and importance of IT related courses in the curricula of architectural schools. Many schools have increased IT content in their curriculum and are investing to acquire computing resources to ensure that they provide their students with the necessary skills and competitive advantage. Modern information and communication technology and digital tools have been adapted in the architectural education and practice since the 1990's. Computer Aided Design (CAD) has been adapted into architecture and became the major working environment. CAD and digital media have also been adapted by many architectural schools around the world. The rapid developments in information and communication technology and its applications in architecture have introduced a new opportunity to design studio teaching. There have been various ways to integrate computation and digital media into design teaching that led to alternative models for digital design studio including computer augmented design studio, CAD-plus studio, virtual and web design studio, cyberspace design studio, intelligent building studio, and toys and tools studio (Do & Gross, 1999).

This paper introduces the application of two approaches implemented by the author representing various dimensions of revitalizing architectural design studio teaching using information and communication technology. These approaches for architectural design studio teaching using the advancement of information and communication technology in design computing and digital media include (a) paperless design studio; and (b) collaborative virtual design studio. Such approaches are inspired by: Resnick's (1996) view to new paradigms of computing as new paradigms for thinking; Schmitt's (1997) perspective of the computer as a design medium that is more than a tool and it is an interactive counterpart through its capabilities and what it offers; and Madrazo's (1999) assumption that designing with computers is based on establishing a fruitful dialogue between the designer and the tool.

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