This paper presents a series of interrelated architectural design studios and technology electives at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) that ran over three years from 2009 to 2011. They involved a long running, live project partnership with Ku-ring-gai Council and integrated student collaboration with local fabricators, culminating in the 2014 construction of a prototypical park structure at Greengate Park in Killara, Sydney. In the context of the live project, the role of prototyping is explored as a specific form of inquiry-based learning that may optimise learning experiences applicable to architectural design and facilitate creative outcomes through linking teaching and research. It is increasingly being introduced into university architecture courses as an analogy to the activities employed by innovative professionals in architecture but the impressive visual imagery of student prototypes being produced is often divorced from any consideration of a broader theoretical context that might allow an assessment of pedagogical value. The question remains whether deep learning is occurring and whether the teaching processes and learning outcomes successfully link teaching and research. This paper identifies factors in the UTS case studies that influenced the students’ learning experiences and their development of the research skills necessary for practice-based research in architecture.
Setting boundaries is a creative act. Harnessing the idea of student involvement and engagement in live projects to their architectural education is difficult. Attempting to define what a live project actually is in this situation has required a lot of self-searching by architectural educators. Whilst it is an accepted condition of mainstream practice that timescale, budget and brief are matched with intention and design before works starts on site, it is not at all clear that such a definitive bounding of the project is in the students’ best interest in a learning environment. This paper looks at the work of the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) research cluster, and assesses the relationship between boundary setting and changing intentions; speculating on the effect of changing intentions on the education of the student.
The value of live projects for students involves to a large extent the value of the present moment of active engagement with concrete reality. With the rising cost of university education and a parallel increase in the adoption of live projects at architecture schools, new approaches to learning are required that operate on a different set of principles to those geared towards training architects for large scale, office based practice. Students should be encouraged to experiment and innovate using incremental, iterative and reflective processes embedded in a real setting and tested in the present.
This paper presents an historical survey of the live project in architectural education, proposing that the live project can be conceptualised within three distinct periods: a modern period, a transitional period, and a (contemporary) postmodern period. This paper proposes that an evolution from a modern conception of the live project to a postmodern conception provides insight to attitudinal shift in architectural education. In order to explore what pedagogical frameworks might we help to theorising these contemporary forms, the paper contextualises architecture live project practice against pedagogical mechanisms of client-centred learning in three other disciplines.