McAllister, Keith. "The Design Process -- Making it Relevant for Students," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issues 2/3 (2010).
Within the ever-changing arenas of architectural design and education, the core element of architectural education remains – that of the design process. The consideration of ‘how’ to design in addition to ‘what’ to design presents architectural educators with that most constant and demanding challenge of “how do we best teach the design process?”
This challenge is arguably most acute at a student’s early stages of their architectural education. In their first years in architecture, students will commonly concentrate on the end product rather than the process. This is, in many ways, understandable. A great deal of time, money and effort go into their final presentations. They believe that it is “what is on the wall” that is going to be assessed. In an era of increasing speed, immediacy of information and powerful advertising, it is not surprising that students want to race quickly to presenting an end-product.
Recognizing that trend, new teaching methods and models were introduced into the Stage 02 undergraduate studio over the past two years at Queen’s University Belfast, aimed at promoting student self-reflection and making the design process more relevant to the students. This paper will first generate a critical discussion on the difficulties associated with the design process before outlining some of the methods employed to help promote the following; an understanding of concept, adding realism and value to the design process and finally, getting the students to play to their strengths in illustrating their design process like an element of product and promoting personalization of the design process for each individual student. Frameworks, examples outcomes and student feedback will all be presented to help illustrate the effectiveness of the new strategies employed in making the design process firstly, more relevant and therefore secondly, of greater value, to the architecture student.