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Keywords

Performance, body, experience, multidisciplinary, transformative

Disciplines

Architecture | Arts and Humanities | Education | Engineering

Abstract

This paper will discuss multidisciplinary and experimental pedagogical case studies that place the importance of the body firmly back into architectural education. The advanced digital technologies currently employed almost universally in architectural education generate increasingly virtual and augmented design, resulting from processes that tend to be devoid of imagination of the body. The case studies discussed in this paper involved students’ direct participation in performative acts during the design process, facilitating positive transformative learning through direct experience. These include design briefs for Chelsea College of Arts (London, UK, 2009–2013), modules for the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) (London, UK, 2009-2014), leading to the project ‘Tales from the Woods’ (2014) that transformed august Georgian buildings into an immersive theatre for the occasion of AA’s 167th anniversary; conceived, designed, planned, constructed and performed by the student project team through a process of intensive choreographic workshops. Working with performance inherently provokes layers of architectural design concerns; such as notion of time and narrative; spatial relationships between the bodies, objects, space, and site; movement, occupation and inhabitation; collaboration and logistics; representation and documentation; and communication of the vision in order to create audience experience. The process encourages each student to generate critical and coherent views of the world that they are proposing, while motivating active commitment and solid ownership of the project. This performance methodology in architectural education promotes transformative learning by going through a journey where rational and analytical reflections, as well as emotional intelligence are challenged and nurtured.

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