Learning in architecture: Students’ perceptions of the architecture studio
In architecture education, the design studio has long been regarded as the centre of teaching and learning. As a learning environment, the studio is the physical site for learning and teaching, where active interaction between students as well as with faculty takes place. The studio is where the enculturation of students into the profession occurs, and where students undergo a transformation that influences the way they relate to the built environment, to their peers, and to their tutors. While the studio environment has been promoted as an ideal educational setting (Boyer & Mitgang, 1996; Schon, 1987), few studies touch on the physical environment of the studio and the associated social dynamics that result from the point of view of architecture students. (Ahrentzen & Anthony, 1993; Groat & Ahrentzen, 1996; Boyer & Mitgang, 1996; Wallis et.al, 2010.) This paper reports on a qualitative study undertaken on the nature of the design studio in two architecture schools in Uganda. The study was carried out to gain students’ perspectives and opinions about their experiences of the studio as a learning environment and its impact on their learning in architecture education. The significance of the study is based on the discourse about newly defined educational expectations of learning environments that has resulted from a global transition towards the design of more effective learning spaces. This is further illustrated by the (a) learning outcomes needed to meet the changing roles and responsibilities of architects; (b) features of the physical environment that enhance learning processes; (c) the rarity of writings about architectural education and learning environments in East Africa.