S. Ceylan, E.U. Topçu

Bahcesehir University (TURKEY)
The role of the theoretical and thematic information is very important in architectural design. To provide a firm base for the design concept, a comprehensive research must be conducted on the subject to gain different points of view and approaches about the design problem. Approaches like the pragmatist strategy in design, practice-based research or evidence-based design are all attempts to create a connection between practice and theoretical information on different levels.

Design of educational facilities in particular is a complex process including physical, functional, pedagogical and psyhchological aspects simultaneously. Although it is a difficult and exhausting process for the designer, it contains great benefit in terms of gaining experience and knowledge. Therefore it potentially comes up as a suitable subject for architectural training, especially for the design studio course which is at the focal point of the formal architectural education. Besides its complicated spatial organization scheme regarding pedagogical diversities and the relationship between different functions, the need for thorough research about the subject and multidisciplinary coordination makes it a useful instrument of education.

The subject “education” contains a large number of academic and theoretic works with different focal points. While some theories propose different strategies of learning and teaching, other ones focus on the learning environment and aim to create a relation between the natural and artificial surroundings and the students. There are also some theories that take art or science into the central point of education. Studies like these about the initial contents of education might have great contribution in designing educational facilities.

The selected case study for the subject of this paper is the architectural design studio for third year students. In the beginning weeks of the course students were given lectures by experienced academics and professionals and they were encouraged to conduct their own research about education concepts, systems, or philosophies. A neighbourhood with light urban density was selected as the project site so that theoretical context of the design problem can be the in the focal point and examined comprehensively. Throughout the semester the reflection of the theoretical knowledge on architecture was inspected in the juries, 1on1 and group discussions and some special exercises.

The students were orientated towards expressing the abstract philosophies of education in an architectural way using different 2 or 3 dimensional graphic communication tools. The assumpiton in this paper signifies that a firm theoretical foundation about educational concepts reflects on the architectural design in a positive way to create more effective spaces for education and to come up with innovative ideas about spatialization of learning environments. Consequently, the case study proves that especially in complicated design problems like educational facilities, it is crucial to provide a wide and firm theoretical context about the subject, keep it in the focal point of studies all through the semester and emphasize its importance frequently with different exercises.