Izmir University of Economics (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 1366-1374
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.0396
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
An international university design studio experience project was organized with the collaboration of students and instructors from Japan, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Thailand. Organized by the team in Japan, individual groups were coordinated in respective countries. This paper focuses on the experiences of the Turkish students. The experience was voluntary and an extracurricular activity, however, students collaborated both among one another and also with the international group effortlessly. It could be observed that, students are willing and confident regarding international collaborative projects in general, that have become more frequent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic with the rapid advancements in the online platforms. Weekly departmental meetings over the course of one academic semester and seven meetings guided the process, and the project was finalized with one international exhibition. The students from Turkey were interior architecture and environmental design students, while the remaining international students were architecture students, which enabled the approach to the project from a variety of scales. The project focused on three teams of three students, building individual Turkish EXPO structures for the 2025 exhibition in Osaka, Japan. Students chose a site and integrated the concept considering the location and characteristics of the site. Students then were expected to consider the representation of a nation and identity in the project within a consistent concept guiding the scenario and use of the space. Discussions were held in the studio so that the spatial proposal needed to incorporate the exterior and interior seamlessly, inviting visitors from afar on the EXPO site. The focus was on the creation of a user-centered and sustainable concept, which placed value on the experience of the visitors, rather than only a striking environment. Projects showed creative conceptual representations, such as, “weaving” the life of women and human rights, diverse and layered multicultural existences, and coexistence under a shell-like structure with a focus on sound, multiple voices, under the EXPO theme of designing future society for people’s lives and elaborated with a subtheme of connecting lives. Students needed to collaborate both among themselves, but also with their international student and instructor counterparts. This was done with the active meetings, as well as through an online platform on which students could upload their projects’ progress and leave comments for others. Students are asked to provide a design project for an Expo Pavilion for a laboratory for a future society where people all around the world co-create the future society by creating a unique representation of the national identity in an international context. The total project experience is believed to be constructive for participants with influential projects and possible lessons for similar international collaborations. Within the scope of this particular project, the concept of identity is discussed twofold. First, the subject of a national identity and therefore the statement represented in the Expo ground, second, the subject of collaboration and cooperation among students and instructors from different countries in a distance mode in the post-pandemic educational era. Therefore, the experiences are discussed in this study with a focus on the process and though the evolution of the design projects.
Design studio, online collaboration, international projects, interior design education, higher education experience.