World architecture workshop: Memes and shortcuts

Crist, G, Wilkins, G and Minifie, P 2013, 'World architecture workshop: Memes and shortcuts', in Diego Ramirez-Lovering, Jacqui Alexander and Alison Fairley (ed.) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Association of Architectural Schools of Australasia: Designing Education, Melbourne, 3 - 5 October, 2013, pp. 108-125.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title World architecture workshop: Memes and shortcuts
Author(s) Crist, G
Wilkins, G
Minifie, P
Year 2013
Conference name Association of Architectural Schools of Australasia: Designing Education
Conference location Melbourne
Conference dates 3 - 5 October, 2013
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Association of Architectural Schools of Australasia: Designing Education
Editor(s) Diego Ramirez-Lovering, Jacqui Alexander and Alison Fairley
Publisher The Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
Place of publication Melbourne
Start page 108
End page 125
Total pages 18
Abstract The World Architecture Workshop is a collaborative design studio project which has run annually for ten years, with three core schools, based in Melbourne, Montpellier and Sendai. Each year it has run in a new location, and that urban place provides the focus to the project and its design research. The workshop has therefore operated in six countries, and periodically involved other schools, including those from Spain, China and the USA. It is an excellent test case in an international collaborative design studio since it has experienced both diverse conditions and repeated formats. The profoundly valuable learning experience to the students barely needs questioning. Its longevity has even meant that a participating student later joined as a supporting tutor. A reflection on this studio environment though, needs to examine the limitations of the experience pedagogically, and the limitations of what the work might discover about the particular urban questions of the project and its site locations. If we accept that a design studio integrates learning and design research though a project, then we might ask: what are the limitations to what can be asked or what can be discovered through such a process? Or, what are the effects of the environment and the process on the discoveries? Generally, students from Japan, France and Australia arrive in an unfamiliar place and work intensively for ten to fourteen days on an urban-scaled project. They are accompanied by tutors from their own school, with their own set of views about urbanism. They are pre-briefed prior to arriving, and develop or complete work after departing; nevertheless time is short and the task complex. We have observed a series of strategies for contending with such pressures; from limitations in language, to cultural differences in methodology. These might be called memes- and involve fast means of sharing knowledge and developing a common understanding. They are short-cuts and short-hand, ranging from reliance on web-based imagery, to default beaux-arts techniques of classical urbanism. The longevity of the workshop has also been able to trace the explosion in availability of shared imagery and information, even over the last ten years. This experience has something to tell us about the nature of design learning, but also about how cities are understood, and made.
Subjects Architectural Design
Urban Design
Copyright notice © 2013 The Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
ISBN 9781921994296
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