K. Julian, J. Abdelnour

Evidence-based design (EBD) is the “process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes” [1]. The potential of evidenced-based design has been widely recognized in the context of healthcare application and renewed interest in research in the constructed environment. Evidence-based design application in the university studio setting has become increasingly necessary due to growing demand for students who are knowledgeable of the integrated design process; built environment research and design build applications. This calls for new strategies for applying evidence based design in the learning environment. The EBD applications are especially useful in student construction of design principles, professional practice and as well as client behavior. Formation of design and construction principles and research knowledge become more successful when guided through EBD concept development, design process, and reflection. Student application to the evidence based design process can be effectively supported by use of clearly defined goals, which help situate learning, illuminate understanding, improve self-awareness, integrate theoretical and practical considerations, and analyze details of each design project. Evidence-based design gives a more objective viewpoint, construction of shared understandings and possibilities for more efficient constructed environments. To this purpose the students developed a survey instrument and needs analysis for designing a sleep apnea clinic in a studio based learning environment. Students were required to research sleep apnea and interview individuals with the condition before designing the space. The sleep apnea research was the driving force for the design process from concept development, ideology, space planning, and specification of building and finish materials as well as post occupancy evaluation criteria. To aid in objectivity and credibility, this studio based project was critiqued and peer reviewed by multidisciplinary groups including educators, administrators, architects, contractors and engineers. The process allowed students, educators and administrators in facilities design to share and implement professional and knowledge resources related to research, teaching and design build application. This studio based project enabled students and educators to understand important design features that characterize their professional practice and interaction with clients. These applications are of a special value for constructing student learning and the EBD principles can be utilized by all users of the design program, department or by the administrators of the constructed environment. In addition, the evidence-based design process served to solidify student design application. Finally, the evidence based design approach for constructing student knowledge is applicable for studio based learning due to the methodical and intricate details of the ongoing process. Integrated project teams use of evidence based design application make a more efficient and user friendly collaboration. The results of this study show that evidence based principles can be consistently applied and replicated in the application of a studio based learning environment to improve student understanding.