Bahcesehir University, Faculty of Architecture and Design (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 2573-2577
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Design studio stands at the core of architectural education and is a subject of debate among scholars. Researchers aim to find effective ways of teaching and learning design. In this paper we will be discussing the process and the outcome of a constructivist instructional approach, implemented in an architectural design studio to third year students.

The objective of this design course is to raise awareness about architectural implant in an urban context, focusing on the relationship between different modes of dwelling ie.private and public under the themes of public realm and boundary. Boundaries mark a limit, a dividing line between realms, may range from well defined to flexible, may even diminish physically yet emerge immaterially. Degree of privacy for a dwelling- home, a home-office, a workshop, a hotel room or a workplace- may differ and needs to be explored as well as the design of urban spaces as squares and/or routes for pedestrian activity and movement.

A specific area in the city that has been facing transformation, was given as a site to work on. The site is located in a neighborhood with a cosmopolitan character developed during the 19th century, housing the early embassy buildings and their residents. Today the area, keeping certain original features, has become a city center where cultural, commercial and recreational activities take place somehow pushing the housing function further, away from the center.

Building in urban areas especially in settlements with a long history of habitation requires a unique approach. In most of the cases, the architect is confined in between the left areas of the existing fabric as a building site. The new design is often influenced by the buildings that need to be preserved, revitalized or demolished. The solution of the problem involves implanting architectural mass into the structure of the city. The existing built environment with its dynamic layers of function, history, form and style define limitatations as well as opportunities for the architect. Thus an implant project, being a current local and global architectural issue provides both impositions and inspirations. A mixed use development in an urban environment where transformations due to changes in life style take place, makes the context a priority. Students while tackling with the basics of architectural design, need to develop awareness on the context, in macro and micro scales.

The design brief was prepared in the light of constructivist instructional approach emphasizing concept building, meaning and knowledge construction as part of the design process, treating the students as active learners. Group discussions, tutor crits, presentations and development of a project were part of the design work in the studio. Student responses to the architectural problem included explorations on public realm and architectural implant and the meaning of boundary in a context of transformation. The paper discusses the outcome of the instructional approach as a case study.
Constructivist learning, urban implant, context, meaning construct, design education.