Learning by Doing: Enhancing the Educational Experience of Architectural Design by Using Collaborative and Experiential Means


The paper aims to identity opportunities to enhance the learning experience in the study of architectural design by using collaborative and experiential approaches where students learn by doing. Based on a case study, the paper analyses an activity where students examined various apartment typologies and modelled them on 1:1 scale using simple materials. The exercise helped the students get a practical sense of real-world sizing of living spaces. At the end of the process, learners had to collectively reflect on what they had learned in terms of design and collaboration. From the analysis of the activity a range of benefits were identified. By using simple materials and their own bodies to occupy the space, students fostered a shared creativity, imagination which enhanced the learning experience in terms of real-world design. The use of found materials such as: road cones, cardboard boxes, hazard tape, used to demarcate walls and furniture, instead of constraining students increased design response and adaptability. The experiential process also helped to build collaboration within the cohort, after a long period of Covid-related lockdown. The project helped to re-establish bonds within each group, sharing tasks, discussing, and reflecting upon different views and expertise. The students working within the group seemed to broaden their perspectives by listening to each other opinions and coming as a group to create 1:1 scaled layout of the apartments. By sharing this experience, the study seeks to expand the discussion on the relevance of implementing collaborative and experiential activities within architectural teaching practice.

Author Information
Lucia Melchiors, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Jessamine Fraser, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Julian Rennie, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2022
Stream: Architecture

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon