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Architecture Studio Culture


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. 

I. Creativity

The professional design studio is a unique educational model where a class of 12 to 18 students produces creative design solutions for problems posed by the studio professor. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers, but rather independent responses that are a product of critical thinking, discussion and creative action.

  • 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.
  • Dialogue - A design studio is conducted as a series of open-ended discussions between students and faculty, where students propose ideas and 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, but ultimately requires 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. 

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 of 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.
  • 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 teamwork, as well as introducing other disciplines into the design process.
  • 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. 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 alike. 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 and 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 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 - Architecture 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 or changed class meeting times to one or two sessions per semester, in order to limit conflicts with non-studio classes or other activities. Any canceled class must be rescheduled and the class made up. No classes can be held outside of scheduled class times including re-scheduled classes unless the professor reaches an agreement with his or her own students on the re-scheduled class time prior to the class.
  • Administration - The administration is committed to ensuring that that the studio environment fully supports the mission. The studio's environment should be safe, comfortable and technologically sophisticated to support the interests of faculty and students. The administration 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 enrolled in this 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. You can work elsewhere. 

  • Rule #1 - NEVER use any workspace other than your own.
  • 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 will you will be banned from the studio outside course meeting hours. On the second, the matter will be forwarded to the Dean's Office and UPD for action. 
  • Rule #3 - 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. They can move their work elsewhere or take it up with us at the next class meeting. Anyone failing to immediately cease an activity a colleague deems disruptive will be banned from the studio space outside of class time for the remainder of the semester. Err on the side of peace and quiet. 
  • Rule #4 - Light
    At no time in this studio will a recorded or broadcast motion picture or show be displayed on a computer screen or projected (night or day) unless viewed directly for studio work. This includes TV, internet and DVDs of any sort.
  • Rule #5 - Sound
    At no time in the semester (night or day) will there be an audible recorded or broadcast noise coming from any desk in the studio. Sounds will be listened to via headphones only. No loudspeakers. At no time will you talk on a cell phone in the studio space. Dismiss yourself to the hall to speak with someone 24/7/365. Turn your phone off when it is time for class and time to work and save yourself the distraction. 
  • Rule #6 - Wind
    There will be no use of any aerosol sprays in the studio. Work found to have used an aerosol spray in its execution will be disposed of outside the building and assigned a grade of 0. There will be no eating of food or disposing of food product wrappers in the studio this semester. There are break areas provided throughout the building for you to use. There should never be food in the studio trash receptacles. 
  • Rule #7 - Earth
    Anyone attending class without the proper foot attire of closed-toed and backed shoes or boots will be sent out of the studio. This studio is a shop. You will wear the proper foot gear for a shop at all times. Please, no sandals. 
  • Rule #8 - Fire
    No tobacco products are to be consumed in the building including cigarettes, dips, pipes, chews and cigars. Tobacco products should never be kept in the studio in plain view. No butane, acetylene or propane heating devices are allowed in the building. 
  • Rule #9 - Water
    Drinks are welcome in the studio but no drink should ever be set on or above the level of the desks. Keep all bottles and cups below your work and your computer. 
  • Rule #10 - There will be no digital communication or display in the studio during class time.
    Calls, IM, emails and texts should be done outside of the studio space. 

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.