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Architecture Studio Culture


The NAAB Studio Culture Conditions:

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) asks that all schools of architecture have a written policy that describes the culture of the design studio and the expectations of students and faculty involved in studio-based education. This policy should be based on the fundamental values of optimism, respect, sharing, engagement and innovation between and among the members of its faculty, student body, administration and staff.

What is Studio?

The studio environment provides students the opportunity to research, create, draw, model, write and work while making discoveries with faculty support. This collaborative problem-based learning/teaching method allows students to learn by producing work for multiple forms of interaction in the studio and in related spaces such as the Design Shop, technology labs and review spaces. An ongoing dialogue about work is a powerful learning tool. Consistent communication and collaboration among peers and faculty gives students opportunities to develop critical thinking skills and spatial and material stances.

I. Creativity

The design studio is a unique educational model which produces creative design solutions for problems and prompts, posed by the studio professor. The structuring of a “Vertical Studio” as a collaborative platform allows multiple levels to engage in collective works while enhancing individual design goals. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers, but rather independent, wide-range responses that are products of critical thinking, discussion and creative action of diverse groups of students.

  • Imagination - The architectural and urban questions of today are often complex and unprecedented, asking students to imagine new and inventive solutions. Value is placed on a student's ability to develop new methods of inquiry and experimentation both inside and outside of the class.
  • Dialogue - A design studio is conducted as a series of open-ended discussions between students and faculty, where students propose ideas as faculty shape and guide development with formal and informal critiques. Students value the professional expertise of the faculty in helping guide development, while faculty value the perspectives and interests of students.
    • Individual Development - The studio sequence helps students find their own creative voice within the discipline of architecture. Studio content often communicates important professional and technical information. It is essential that each student develop an individual response and point of view to both architectural problems and the discipline itself. In this way, the studio experience shapes the student's future contributions to the profession. Individual development impacts the development of others within the studio space, group work and vertical studios.
      • Learning Opportunities – Students are encouraged to participate in two or more student or studio development opportunity events per year outside of class-required participation. Participation opportunities in student and studio development are sponsored and hosted by organizations within the program, such as the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) and any other student organization.

II. Community

The design studio is a community in microcosm, as well as part of a larger academic community. Discussion and debate are conducted in a respectful manner, and students acquire an understanding of an architect's ethical responsibilities toward communities, as well as the importance of other disciplines and activities outside the discipline of architecture.

  • Ethics - The design studio asks that students formulate their ideas as optimistic propositions that are intended to improve and inspire the communities they serve, underscoring the importance of professional ethics. Plagiarism in design amongst peers is prohibited within the program and studio spaces. For further guidance, please reference the SDSU Student Handbook Section 2:4. Student Academic Misconduct and Academic Appeals.
  • Collaboration - Design and architecture are inherently collaborative and trans-disciplinary. The studio method of critique and dialogue establishes a baseline of collaboration between student and faculty, but studios must offer regular opportunities for collaborative team work, as well as introducing other disciplines into the design process. Students are encouraged to display their work regularly to aid in facilitating discussion amongst peers and faculty.
  • Balance - Students must learn that studio learning is balanced by other forms of learning, as well as the importance of knowledge and experience completely outside the discipline of architecture. Students are responsible in their balance of time management, general health and well-being. Faculty must be aware of these needs and make every effort to allow students appropriate time for learning outside the studio, particularly in non-studio courses.

III. Commitment

Design studio requires the highest commitment from students, faculty and administration. Because of these overlapping commitments, students and faculty must recognize the importance of time management and the setting of priorities with clear guidelines and expectations.

  • Students - Students are expected to attend all classes/critiques and commit the appropriate amount of time to develop their designs. Quality of time spent on studio work is more important than quantity, and students should make every effort to manage their time wisely in order to effectively complete all of their work. Each Architecture course syllabus will indicate a specific maximum number of class meetings one can miss due to non-excused absence over a semester. A student will no longer be able to pass the class once this number has been surpassed. Instructors will strive to keep students informed of their absence count but each student is responsible for keeping track of their attendance. A student may inquire at any time in a course as to how many absences have been recorded to date.
  • Faculty - The Architecture Program recognizes the importance of both its full-time and part-time faculty, and asks for a full commitment from all of its professors relative to their assigned load. Faculty are required to fulfill their obligations in terms of total required hours of teaching, and they should make every effort to limit canceled meeting times to one or two sessions per semester. Class content must still be covered throughout the semester. The faculty is committed to ensuring the studio's environment is safe, comfortable and technologically sophisticated to support the interests of faculty and students. The faculty is also responsible for communicating this policy and managing conflicts.

IV. Studio Operations

All of these rules apply 24 / 7 / 365 in the studios.

These rules represent specific issues on how things work best to make these studios great learning environments. You do not have a right to a studio space if you are not enrolled in a studio course. It is a privilege. Failure to comply with any of these policies will result in a loss of studio privileges outside of meeting times.

  • Rule #1 - NEVER use any workspace other than your own without permission.
  • Rule #2 - NEVER use someone's material or tools without prior consent. Your first transgression of either of these two rules will be considered vandalism and/or theft and may be cause for further disciplinary actions.
  • Rule #3 – ALWAYS be respectful of others and know the person being annoyed or disturbed is always right. If for any reason an activity of a colleague in this or any adjacent studio is hindering your ability to work you are to ask them to cease that activity immediately.
    • This includes visual distractions, audio distractions and odors.
    • Personal communications should be done outside of the studio space during class time.
  • Rule #4 – ALWAYS keep the studio presentable and tidy.
    • When using the Kitchen space be courteous and clean up after oneself and others if need be.
  • Rule #5 – ALWAYS Protect Studio Security
    • Do not prop studio door.
    • Do not allow unknown individuals into the studio space.
    • It is the student's responsibility to have any and all guests abide by the studio policy.

Ultimately, as an SDSU student, you are beholden to all of the responsibilities and expectations outlined in the South Dakota State University Code of Student Conduct.

To be reviewed September, 2023