Design Studio Definitions (always in progress)


Design Studio is traditionally the focus and passion of architecture students. Studio is where students learn to transcend complex and indeterminate challenges so as to artfully and intelligently produce figural schemes for a built environment of human significance. (Bachman & Bachman)

Design Studio is the perfect model for inculcation and is essential for socializing students with a cultivated ‘habitus’. It is the place where knowledge and skills are integrated and applied.(Stevens)

Design Studio: both a physical space (an actual place) and the mode of engagement (pedagogical strategy). a third definition assigns studio the meaning of the place of work activity as in the artist’s studio. it is this particular aspect the educational studio attempts to replicate. (Crowther)

Design Studios apply the semi-structures learning strategy of experiential learning; in particular teh project which includes some aspects of problem based learning strategy (Delahaye)

Design Studio education accommodates three types of learning:

  • learning about design (the development of knowledge),
  • learning to design (the development and application of skills) (Schon, 1984), and
  • learning to become an architect (the transformative pedagogy in which learning is identified as changing as a person) (Dutton, 1987).

The studio provides an environment that facilitates all of these learning scenarios by
embodying a theory of ‘teaching as making leaning possible’ and allowing academics to work ‘cooperatively with learners to help them change their understanding’ (Ramsden, 2003, p. 110) (extract from Crowther)



Bachman, C., & Bachman, L. (2010). Self-identity, rationalisation and cognitive dissonance in undergraduate architectural design learning. arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, 13.2(4), 315-322. ISBN: 9780521537643

Crowther, Ph., 2013, ‘Understanding the signature pedagogy of the design studio and the opportunities for its technological enhancement’, in Journal of Learning Design, Vol. 6, No 3, pp. 18-28

Stevens, G., 1998, ‘The Favored Circle: the social foundations of architectural distinction‘, Cambridge: MIT press.

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