Community-based Studios for enhancing Students’ Awareness of Universal Design Principles
Presenter: Hing-Wah Chau, Academic Teaching Scholar, Victoria University.
A series of community-based design studios were delivered at the University of Melbourne for postgraduate architectural students from 2017 to 2019 to draw their awareness of universal design principles and incorporate those principles in their design assignments.
A design studio is a place of experimentation and exploration. Students are encouraged to propose solutions to respond to our community needs. Bringing real-world issues into design studios enables students to equip themselves with the capabilities to formulate corresponding design strategies for built environment, especially to cater for the specific needs of people with disability and older adults. Through the engagement with different stakeholders, including practising architects, urban designers, non-profit organisations and local council, students are required to assess the current site context and carry out site analysis, prepare precedent case studies, attend inclusive design workshops, prepare schematic design, leading to their detailed design and final presentations.
In this paper, the course structure of these community-based studios is firstly introduced, followed by an analysis illustrating how students’ awareness of universal design principles can be enhanced. Potential improvements are discussed and further guidance for replicating similar studios at other institutions are given.