The tale of two schools: design technology, digital mediation and aesthetic dispositions within architectural design education
Author(s)Foulcher, Nicholas Charles
Contributor(s)University of Newcastle. Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractResearch Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The fields of design education and research are inherently dynamic, yet a sense of stasis often characterises distinct architectural institutions through definitions of particular educational ethe; that is, standardised systems, which are culturally internalised and that transcend consciousness. Focussing on two established architectural schools known for their pedagogical approaches, this thesis explores this paradox and, more specifically, investigates how it manifests through the nexus of analogue and digital design technologies. The thesis analyses the relationship between digital technology and educational ethos, exploring how unarticulated cultural preferences inform student learning and design processes. Through analysis of rich qualitative data, the dissertation forwards the tale of two distinct Australian architectural schools as they are told through student and staff reflections on the role of technology. It outlines student educational design journeys, as well as their design tendencies, while also investigating the staff perspective, and consequently explores perception and experience of analogue and digital technologies in design and education. Using semi-structured interviews and participant observation as key methodological techniques, the thesis deconstructs the pedagogical implications of the increasingly complicated relationship between drawing, digital technology and a culture of architecture. Adopting Pierre Bourdieu’s (1977) <i>Theory of Practice</i>, the study explores the educational sphere as a relational and dynamic space; a site of structuralist disruption and conflicting attitudes that constitute and reinforce the architectural learning and design environment. The charge of emergent design technologies has encouraged a re-evaluation of an essential and defining element of culture. Through analysing the manifestation of this phenomenon within the architectural discipline, the thesis explores the paradoxical relationship between a set of classical analogue skills, functioning as symbolic reserves of cultural capital, and the expanding digital skill set. The increasingly computerised commercial digital environment is reliant on digitally mediated tools and demands the skills to use these tools. However, investment into analogue drawing by schools and students alike continues. The thesis aims to expose the struggle between the conflicting demands placed on both student and teacher to preserve the cultural hegemony of drawing, despite this inertial shift toward digital design practices. The research aims to inform contemporary understandings of the relationship between students, educational structures and cultures as part of a changing and digitising architecture and design field.