Bringing 'Active Learning' Modules into Design Education: A Manifesto for a Socially Engaged Architecture

Common Ground
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The International Journal of Diversity in Education, 2014, 13 (3), pp. 55 - 64
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In post-disaster settings and in countries undergoing economic transition, architects have largely been disassociated from social development and the wider concerns of reconstruction. In these situations, equity and diversity concerns have been too frequently overshadowed by private sector interests. Researchers of architecture and architecture education have noted these failings and have called for architects to engage more strongly with epistemological and ethical questions in education and practice. This paper argues for the inclusion of `active learning' modules within the architecture discipline which integrate the technical and practical education of undergraduate students in post-disaster risk management and reconstruction. The growth of university-community service-based learning modules that link architecture schools with NGOs in post-disaster and development settings offer educational opportunities that can equip young architects with the skills they need to operate as global citizens. This paper provides practical recommendations for a more socially engaged architecture, placing the emphasis on architects as future mediators and educators. It offers an effective means of rethinking architectural practice and education, challenging the master narrative of architecture and raising important questions about the relevance of architectural design in a development context.
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