Tectonics/ways of doing/thinking of architecture, face technical, aesthetic and cultural implications of the emerging digital technologies, communication technologies, and new materialiaties. Architectural practices in all the fields of the discipline are thus in a reformation process.
Except for a few notable schools, there are various issues in architectural schools, in terms of capacity, teaching methods, and curricula, prohibiting the educational practices of architecture to absorb the challenges brought by the proliferation of new ways of thinking and making architecture:
- Departmental curricula in fixed program of studies that do not employ the latest pedagogical theories
- Lack of technological infrastructure
- Impossibility to educate an all-knowing student with respect to the diversity of architectural practices.
- Finding faculty members having pedagogical competences. Architecture is a growing profession in Europe; the number of architects in Europe has increased by 4% since 2014 (ACE Report, 2016). Number of architecture schools have grown vast over the last 15 years.
- Lack of innovative approaches in studio teaching: Few professional practitioners tutoring studios innovate pedagogical approaches to studio models. Most rely on a more conventional and didactic system and take no notice of pedagogical improvements; the quality of their tutoring depends on their own experiences, awareness, and abilities. At architecture schools, not all academicians tutor studios, including those from various sub-disciplines of the field, such as theory, history, fields of building technologies. Up-to-date researches do not thus fuse into studio setting. There is weakness in fostering knowledge triangle to work in the field of education.
The discipline is nourished by diverse cultures, attitudes and geographies, therefore requires transnational effort and intense communication and knowledge sharing borderless platforms for both learners and tutors to sustain its dynamic and fertile ground both for the academia and for the practice. It has strong linkages between education, research, and profession on an international level via ACE, UIA and EAAE, however learners and tutors may not have direct opportunities to be a part of these linkages due to economical, geographical, procedural and time-related limitations. This hinders the possibility to stimulate intercultural and civic competences of students and internationalisation of HEIs.
Architectural education shall guarantee at least the acquisition of certain knowledge, skills, and competences as defined by Directive 2013/55/EU, in line with UIA-UNESCO Charter on Architectural Education. Architectural Design Studio is the spine/backbone of architectural design education. It is the place where all the knowledge, abilities, and skills gained via the other curricular courses are weaved into designing. It is a key interaction field that fosters the knowledge triangle of the discipline owing to the joint of work of tutors coming from research, academic and professional fields. Rather than being an environment for implementing and/or motivating projects or for instructing someone to carry them out, studio rely on student-centered approach strengthened with collaborative work, multidisciplinary approach, that directly improves the competence in innovative problem-solving.
Enriching and extending current practices/models of architectural design studio is a deliberate action. It holds a substantial innovation potential to enhance the relevance, quality, and impact of architectural design education/research in terms of handling the transformations in practices interacting with the discipline.
Over the last 15 years, apart from curricular compulsory studios, extracurricular international intensive studios in architectural design (ISAD) have become a mainstream educational environment around the globe. ISADs are time-wise, ranging from 15 days to 1 month long, fast to organise, and economical for international students to be part of a new education setting.
Within the scope of the exigencies of education field, this project foresees the potential of ISADs in:
1. Breeding an experimental/alternative/flexible learning and research environment in the 1st and 2nd cycles to absorb ever-changing tools/methods promoted in professional/research sides of the field;
2. Promoting the pedagogical update of studio tutors, including professional practitioners, with peer teaching method.
3. Enabling international collaboration between HEIs by transnational communication.
ISADs have the potential to become incubators for innovations in studio models. However, except for a few, information about ISADs (call for applications, studio outcomes, models) are not well disseminated across European Architectural Schools. They (except IPs funded by EU) do not award ECTSs and are usually conducted only by the organizing school professors.