Studio is a popular setting in architecture curricula. Studios provide a context for synthesis, reflection, and learning by praxis. I have taught various levels of graduate, undergraduate and beginning studios where I experimented with problem-based learning pedagogy to design course syllabi. The studio syllabi and student work can be seen here: Click to download Studio portfolio pdf

Learning from New Orleans Studio
An example of a field work research-based studio is the Learning from New Orleans Integrated Studio. This integrated studio, offered every fall, was a collaborative effort spearheaded by Harry Van Oudenallen, Manu Sobti, and me. This course is simultaneously a studio, a research methods seminar, and a history/theory seminar exploring “the politics of disaster rebuilding” within a historical and global framework. This is a novel format that can transform architectural education by integrating theory, methods, and application. The integrated studio teaches students how to apply empirical and secondary knowledge while taking informed “action” in the built environment. The goal of this class is to study and propose urban rebuilding after disasters in ways that promote social equity and justice (based on Lefebvre’s notion of the rights to the city).[1] The integrated studio on New Orleans is supported by a grant from the Institute of Race and Ethnicity.
See the studio blogsite at

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Imagine Devon Studio
For the first time, in spring 2008, I offered a studio called the Imagine Devon studio. This was a studio that tested the pedagogy of application and engagement. Students collaborated with residents, community groups, and users of Devon Avenue in Chicago in order to plan socially equitable future development. For the architecture students, application-studios are perfect sites to test, practice, examine, and apply cultural and social concepts. Professor Larry Witzling wrote about the Imagine Devon studio:

“I just wanted to tell you that I thought the project was great—not just from the standpoint of the work the students did, but also from the view that this type of project has long been missing fro[m] our program—back in the day (the 70s) we actually had students involved in analyzing and proposing ideas for communities from a broad perspective that went beyond just the ‘building’ to the larger cultural/community issues. It was great to see that coming back into the school.”[2]

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[1] Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities, trans. and ed. E. Kofman and E. Lebas  (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1996).

[2] Personal email communication from Dr. Larry Witzling, “RE: Friday Review Final Schedule” dated March 17, 2009 12:19:05 PM