Critical Reflections on Schön’s Reflective Practitioner by Helena Webster

 

REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONER

Schön’s failures:

  • there are other cognitive, affective and corporeal dimensions to learning that take place both within the studio and in other settings/ he produced notions of reflective practice at a time when there was a significant paradigm shift from “behavioral” and “cognitive” psychology to “humanist” and “situated” theories of learning.
  • students experience arch education as the sum of its explicit and hidden dimensions and it is this total experience that effects the development of students from novices to professional architects/ Schön confines his notion of student learning to formal pedagogic encounters
  • in his long explication of students’ encounters with design tutors suggests that the role of the design tutor is to ‘correct’ students’ designs, he fails to acknowledge that arch is a dynamic and contested field or the ramifications that this might have on the design tutorial interaction
  • Schön’s description of teaching is arguably akin to a teacher-centered model; described by the learning and teaching literature as a ‘transmission’ model of teaching/ Schön fails to recognise that Quist, as a representative of a particular institutional habitus, uses his power to direct Petra’s learning towards alignment with his normative habitus
  • the plausibility of temporal aspects of Schön’s concepts are also questionable: at what point does action become reflection-in-action and at what point does reflection-in-action stop and reflection-on-action start?

Today’s truths are constructed by cultural groups, Webster argues. There are struggles of power between the groups about the dominance of their particular truths. Architectural professional knowledge is constructed and contested both within and between groups. In this context presenting arch knowledge as unproblematic is odd.

 

References

Webster, H., 2008. Architectural Education after Schön: Cracks, Blurs, Boundaries and Beyond. In Journal for Education in the Built Environment, Vol. 3, Issue 2, December 2008 pp. 63-74 (12)

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How soon is now?

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  • Real Virtual: virtual environments that represent the real world.
  • Virtual Augmented Real: use of ubiquitous augmented information systems connected to the real world objects (ie. GPS data, pilot’s line of sight measurement etc)
  • Real Augmented Virtual: information from the real world gets embedded into the virtual realm. (ie. Kinect Sports Video Game)
  • Fantastic Virtual: products of unrestrained imagination

 

Reference

Pak, B. Newton, C., Verbeke, J., 2012. Virtual Worlds and Architectural Education: A Typological Framework. In Proceedings of the 30th eCAADe Conference – Volume 1, Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture (Czech Republic) 12-14 September 2012, pp. 739-746.

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ZARCH Publication now available!

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I am very pleased to see our articlePedagogical approaches to embodied topography: a workshop that unravels the hidden and imaginary landscapes of Elaionas,‘ get published in ZARCH Journal and I am also very happy to share this with you. It is based on a collaborative project that began in 2015 with Prof. Nelly Marda and Christos Kakalis from the University of Newcastle along with the students of our postgraduate course in NTUA.

The article highlights the importance of mapping in urban design and uses the concept of embodied topography to describe how activating the human body through a series of sensory motor tasks can help individuals immerse themselves in the landscape to acquire a better understanding of the urban phenomena. This process is presented here as a tool of mapping and managing the complexity of the urban landscape as it enables the individuals to recover the more hidden or even imaginary aspects of the city and their own relation to it.

As this is an ongoing research I hope that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are doing with more people involved in this kind of research in urban design. So, feel free to comment and write back your own experiences on the matter.

ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, Num. 8, image available here

Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education by Joongsub Kim

 Architecture

This paper underlines the potential urban design has for architectural curricula. It also explains why an urban design course is a better choice for the experimental study of architectural blended learning as online technology enables the inclusion of a greater number of resources and stakeholders to be part of the learning process.

 

Urban design (replaced ‘civic design’ in 1960’s) plays a role in not only establishing the infrastructure and the underpinnings for building design, but also in bridging the gap between architecture and other disciplines that apply principles of urbanism in various ways (…) Urban design is an interdisciplinary profession, integrating urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental studies, and the social sciences (…) Urban design is, arguably, more process-oriented

 

Four approaches to advancing architectural education and pedagogy:

  • facilitating: promoting consensus about design/place making (place  intended a. as a set of visual attributes/ b. as product/ c. as process/ d. as meaning) is inherently multi-faceted, urban design incorporates more players and interests and UD is more likely to offer diverse tools to handle such a process/ place as meaning deals with subjective perceptions as translated from group experiences/ many scattered views maybe combined into a more unified, shared vision through consensus-based design, architects act as facilitators rather than directors
  • grounding: promoting logical underpinning, inquiry by design, and evidence-based design/ managing and making sense of complex information (process based)/ studying how a place looks-functions-is influenced, how it makes people feel (the spirit of a place)/ basic techniques of grounding are to be found in contextualised findings (infrastructure-networksbuilt env.-biogenic env.)/ designers in this case respond to questions asked during study-they keep searching for a design rationale
  • convening: promoting social design/ desirable places provide us with public meaning and positive environmental sociability/ it pointedly addresses the needs of underrepresented individuals in design- service learning and thinking of architecture as public art/ this approach envisions place as a final ‘product’ with tangible attributes
  • designing therapeutically: promoting a holistic environmental sensibility/ desirable places foster the holistic well-being of place users, urban designers reduce environmental stresses/ New Urbanism and Green Building/ a desirable sustainable design or sustainable urbanism goes beyond dealing with physical and environmental considerations, rating systems, and energy concerns to address social and psychological concerns

 

References

  • Joongsub Kim, 2009. Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education, in ARCC Journal Vol 6, issue 1

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On the importance of social learning in architectural studies

SOCIAL LEARNING

  • Cuff, 1991/Nicol-Pilling, 2000: rich social dynamic and socialized learning in a learning setting form a central plank of the studio-based pedagogy for arch design. Although studio learning has historically utilized the cohort, peer interaction has further potential to alleviate the detrimental effects of power that can manifest themselves in tutor-student relationships.
  • Parnell, 2001: The social dimensions of the studio and the opportunity for collaboration and sharing act as stimulants to learning
  • Fisher, 1991: fraternity culture, it is the culture of the studio that acquires lasting significance for students
  • Costa-Kallick, 1991: critical friend_it enables a form of peer to peer dialogue that directly parallels the kinds of conversation that occur between students in the learning process
  • Dutton, 1991: peer to peer relationships are relatively free from the symptoms of power asymmetries
  • Schaffer, 2003: learning takes place through the internalization of social processes of evaluation and that the norms of the community become a framework for individual thinking and individual identity
  • Boud, 2001: peer learning promotes other facets of learning such as team working, the management of personal learning and judgment and the ability to critique both self and others
  • Anthony, 1991: informal dialogue and formalized learning offers the students the possibility to obtain multiple perspectives and opportunity for continuous discourse. The nature of the studio means that students are exposed to numerous, frequently conflicting perspectives which can present challenges, especially during the early stages of study.
  • Klebesadel-Kornetsky, 2009: critique, as a mode of offering structured and unstructured feedback is a mode that is shared by all the creative arts
  • Bruffee, 1999: constructive conversation as a means to harness peer interaction, socialization and critical dialogue
  • Piaget, 1985: co-operation as central to the development of reflection, discourse and critical abilities
  • Vygotsky, 1986: zone of proximal development term that described how social interaction constitutes a necessary component for full cognitive development to be achieved
  • Flavell, 1985-Stahl, 1992: cognitive and meta-cognitive processes of knowledge construction contradict the common assumption that knowledge is effectively conveyed from tutor to student in feedback processes. Student learning  was found to be conditioned by the individuals’ existing knowledge and understanding, against which new information is aligned creating either a deepening of knowledge or leading to previous knowledge being revised. 
  • Askew, 2000: power has a profound relationship to feedback, whether formative or summative
  • Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006: peer interaction occurs where student progress generates dialogue and criticism
  • Mezirow, 1997: there are instances when students actively seek the authority of the tutor and points where power can be constructively channelled to challenge and stretch students through shifting their frames of reference in ways that peer dialogue is unlikely to achieve
  • Rowntree, 1977: feedback is fundamental to effective learning

 

References

David McClean & Neasa Hourigan, 2013. Critical Dialogue in Architecture Studio: Peer
Interaction and Feedback. In Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 8:1, 35-57

Image of Macquarie University Social Learning Space / Bennett and Trimble is available here

Design Studio Education in the Online Paradigm: Introducing Online Educational Tools and Practices to an Undergraduate Design Studio Course

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Abstract— the architectural design studio, the prevailing form of design education, has resisted opening up to online educational tools and practices. Yet its affinities to the newest theories of learning such as connectivism are many. This paper describes an experimental configuration of multiple learning environments in diverse mediums for an undergraduate design studio at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. The aim of the studio’s layout transformation has been to explore its physical boundaries and to create a collaborative milieu between peers that facilitated communication and thus, the exchange of information and knowledge.

Keywords—design studio; design research; collaborative design; online education; complexity theory; connectivism

A history of doctoral studies in Scandinavia

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until the 1970’s: research education revolved around phd projects in which students derived their subject of research from their professional or pedagogical practice. the motivation was to conclude a professional career by reflecting one’s own interests. supervisors were most often non scholars, but highly esteemed practitioners with very little experience of research. the format was master-apprentice/ research was a marginal phenomenon while practice was dominant. 

beginning of the 1970’s: pressure was put for the development of a more academic profile in educational programs. sciences with more theoretically developed foundations, offered models that could influence arch programs. “normal research” was imitated. arch and urban design studies were considered as applied science and phd students of that time were asked to renounce their prof backgrounds as designers.arch research lacked awareness of its own intellectual identity in the dialogue between arch and various other disciplines. academics discussed the idea of developing a field-specific academic identity and epistemological basis more founded on the specific knowledge modes of arch. up until the 90’s the formats were two: the apprentice-master relationship and those who tried to extend curricula with new ambitions of introducing knowledge based on research

early 1990’s: the challenge was to legitimize the phd as ‘academic enough’, attempts were made to formulate frameworks for what practice-embedded issues were legitimate topics for research. critique on modernism brought influences from other fields outside arch

late 1990’s: the ‘from outside’ tendency was criticized. in 1992 a Nordic network of collaboration was established to determine national contexts, possible contents and methods of research in the fields of making knowledge. since then research education at several Scandinavian schools of architecture has been focusing on developing field-specific design scholarship

1996: TU Delft organized the conference entitled ‘Doctorates in Design and Architecture’. it was noted that both the academic and professional worlds were too conventional in their view of design and too limited by traditional preconceptions of the divisions between science and art

1997: Christopher Frayling led a group and issued a report entitled ‘Practice-Based Doctorates in the Creative and Performing Arts and Design‘. They concluded that “there is already a continuum from scientific research to creative practice”

2000: TU Delft organized the second international conference entitled ‘Research by Design’. it was a milestone as it elucidated the issues of scientific research, design and research by design. the profiles of architecture and design faculties began to be more nuanced than the traditional division between practitioners and theoreticians. The format still relied on the master-apprentice relation between teacher-practitioners and students, but those educators who were interested in research no longer appeared to represent an opposite pole in education, as their understanding of research came ever closer to practice amidst increasing attempts to develop field-specific scholarship

after 2000’s: research was directed to fields of research that were either SUPRA-DISCIPLINARY or SUB-DISCIPLINARY. It was through the now-canonical work “The New Production of Knowledge” by Michael Gibbons et al. that the notion of transdisciplinarity became widely spread. This transdisciplinary knowledge production also used methods and tools from practice, not least including design thinking and tools, and the authors called this mode of knowledge production Mode 2 in relation to the traditional, academic Mode 1. The founders of the Mode 1 / Mode 2 movement emphasize that in order to master the tasks of Mode 2, one has to get through an apprenticeship in Mode 1. the concept of transdisciplinarity also began to be discussed in the international field of architectural theory.

2003: Bologna-Berlin policies recognized doctoral studies as the third cycle in European higher education

2013: three conferences were held at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture. the latest in 2013 was entitled ‘Knowing (by) Designing‘. The proceedings of this series of conferences from 1996 to 2013 can be regarded as documenting the growing awareness among practitioners, teachers, and researchers that field-specific design scholarship should more self-consciously and more courageously seek its own, more field-specific mode.

2010’s: From dyadic to triadic identities and exchanges between education, practice, and research. research program under the name of Architecture in the Making aims to develop theories and methods from the perspective of, and in collaboration with, arch practice to strengthen arch research. Research within this environment includes doctoral projects, post-doc projects, and projects for senior researchers.

 

References

Halina Dunin-Woyseth, Fredrik Nilsson, 2014.  Design Education, Practice, and Research: On Building a Field of Inquiry. In STUDIES IN MATERIAL THINKING, Vol 11, Paper 01, ISSN: 1177-6234

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Frayling’s stereotypes

The popular images/stereotypes of:

  • the fine artist as an expressive lunatic when artists have worked as often in the cognitive idiom as the expressive, also some art counts as research while some art doesn’t
  • the designer as style warrior, superficial, trendy, obsessed with surfaces and signs
  • the scientist as a critical rationalist, engaged in fundamental research. in popular culture they are saints or sinners. Feyerabend and Collins have stressed that in science there may be conjectures but many of them are unconscious, they involve a significant measure of subjectivity
  • the practitioner as if action that follows reflection or reflection that follows action can be put in a box named practice

when doing science is much more like doing design. David Gooding stressed the links between experimental scientists and creative artists.

 

References

Christofer Frayling, 1993. Research in Art and Design. In Royal College of Art Research Papers, Vol 1, No 1, 1993/4

 

10 characteristics of good design research

DESIGN RESEARCH

  1. Disruptive: viewing the world in alternative futures/new perspectives
  2. Useful: it must serve a defined purpose
  3. Messy: good design makes you think and this is inherently messy/ it requires untangling using approaches that do not oversimplify
  4. Political: it must clarify its stance on the world’s significant challenges
  5. Impactful: it must create an affect on, a change or a benefit
  6. Critical: it must challenge perspectives
  7. Enduring: it should provide us with a profound revolution in viewing the world not just hot topics
  8. Does not need qualification: the importance of design research lies in its rigor, relevance, quality and impact not in its particular types of design
  9. Thoughtful: it should address difficult issues
  10. Clear: it must be self-explanatory

 

References

Paul Rodgers, Joyce S.R. Yee, 2016. Design Research is Alive and Kicking… In Proceedings of DRS 2016: Design + Research + Society Future–Focused Thinking, (eds Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia), Published by the Design Research Society, pp.

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About the image:

The design research map is defined and described by two intersecting dimensions. One is defined by approach and the other is defined by mind-set. Approaches to design research have come from a research-led perspective (shown at the bottom of the map) and from a design-led perspective (shown at the top of the map). The research-led perspective has the longest history and has been driven by applied psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and engineers. The design-led perspective, on the other hand, has come into view more recently.

There are two opposing mindsets evident in the practice of design research today. The left side of the map describes a culture characterized by an expert mind-set. Design researchers here are involved with designing FOR people. These design researchers consider themselves to be the experts and they see and refer to people as “subjects”, users”, “consumers”, etc. The right side of the map describes a culture characterized by a participatory mind-set. Design researchers on this side design WITH people. They see the people as the true experts in domains of experience such as living, learning, working, etc. Design researchers who have a participatory mind-set value people as co-creators in the design process. It is difficult for many people to move from the left to the right side of the map (or vice versa) as this shift entails a significant cultural change. (Richard Anderson, 2011)

1962- Conference on Design Methods

1962_CONF DESIGN METHODS

The event determined the parameters of a collective agenda/ it enabled discussions that would catalyze future developments in design methods work. It launched design methodology as a filed of inquiry.

The origins of design research as a discrete area denoting a more systematic and rational
approach to design that emphasizes teamwork predates the DRS (design research society); its emergence in Britain and North America is closely related to the professionalization of design practice/ the Design Research community in Britain were:

  • Herbert Read: critic and design historian, need for research within the design process
  • Marcus Brumwell: advertising executive, Design Research Unit (DRU), emerged in 1943, bringing ‘design’ and ‘research’ into an enduring relationship
  • Milner Gray: The Design Profession 1946
  • John Gloag: director of an advertising agency, discussed the need for Design Research Committees to direct design teams
  • Misha Black: DRU’s Director seized the opportunity to disseminate design thinking to a new generation of designers becoming the RCA’s first Professor of Industrial Design Engineering in 1959
  • Dorothy Goslett: Professional Practice for Designers

 

References

Dr Harriet Atkinson, Dr Maya Rae Oppenheimer, 2016. Design Research-History, theory, practice: histories for future-focused thinking. In Proceedings of DRS 2016: Design + Research + Society Future–Focused Thinking, (eds Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia), Published by the Design Research Society, pp. 2585-2592

Nigel Cross, 1993. A history of Design Methodology. In Design Methodology and Relationships with Science, pp. 15-27, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Additional resources:

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Design and Science_Cross

DESIGN-SCIENCE

  • 1920’s search for scientific design products: Van Doesburg attested that modernity was hostile to subjective speculation
  • 1960’s concern for a scientific design process: the 1962 conference on design methods in London marked the launch of design methodology as a field of inquiry (…) the movement sought to base the design process on objectivity and rationality (…) Fuller called for a design science revolution, Simon plead for a science of design
  • The new ‘Design Methods Movement’ developed through a series of conferences in the 1960s and 70s. The first design methods or methodology books also appeared in this period – Hall (1962), Asimow (1962), Alexander (1964), Archer (1965), Jones (1970), Broadbent (1973) – and the first creativity books – Gordon (1961), Osborn (1963).
  • 1970’s marked a backlash against design methodology (…) Alexander and Jones renounced the machine language, the attempt to ‘fix’ the world in a logical framework (…) there had also been a lack of success in the application of design methods to everyday design practice (…) design and planning problems were characterized as ‘wicked’ instead of ‘tame’.
  • 1973, Rittel saved Design Methodology by his proposal of Generations of Methods. He suggested that what had been developed in the 60’s was only the first generation of methods (systematic, rational) and that a second one was beginning to emerge (recognition of appropriate solution types and an argumentative participatory process in which designers are partners with the problem-owners -clients-).
  • 1980’s-1990’s emergence of new journals and books of design research, theory and methodology [Hubka (1982), Pahl and Beitz (1984), French (1985), Cross
    (1989), Pugh (1991)] (…) and through a series of international conferences- aka ICED, ASME and VDI (…) 1980’s Design:Science: Method Conference signaled the time to move beyond the simplistic comparisons and distinctions between design and science (…) the epistemology of design had little to gain for the disarray of the epistemology of science (…) AI developments
  • 2000’s signals perhaps the reemergence of design science concerns

  • Scientific Design: it refers to modern industrialized design (…) it was based on the assumption that that modern industrial design had become too complex for intuitive methods (…) through the reliance of modern design upon scientific knowledge, design made science visible utilizing a mix of bioth intuitive andnon-intuitive design methods
  • Design Science: term coined by B. Fuller or Gregory in 1965 (…) recognize laws of design, develop rules (…) logically connected knowledge in the area of design (…) DS to address the problem of determining and categorizing all regular phenomena (…) DS derives from the applied knowledge of the natural sciences appropriate information (…) an explicitly organized, rational and wholly systematic approach to design
  • Science of Design: study of designing may be a scientific activity (Grant) (…) a federation of subdisciplines having design as the subject of their cognitive interests (Gasparski and Strzalecki) (…) it is the study of design; its principles, practices and procedures (…) it is the body of work that attempts to improve our understanding of design through scientific methods of interpretation.
  • Design as a Discipline: an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners bring to situations of uncertainty, instability and value conflict (Schon) (…) study of design as an interdisciplinary study accessible to all those involved in the creative activity of making the artificial world (simon) (…) design studied on its own terms, within its own rigorous culture

 

References

Nigel Cross, 2001. Designerly ways of knowing: design discipline versus design science. In Design Issues 17(3), pp.49-55

Nigel Cross, 1993. A history of Design Methodology. In Design Methodology and Relationships with Science, pp. 15-27, Kluwer Academic Publishers

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