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Live Project: Understanding the Design Process From The Project Brief To Post-Occupancy Evaluation

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Publication date17/06/2019
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventEducation, Design and Practice – Understanding skills in a Complex World - Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, United States
Duration: 17/06/201919/06/2019


ConferenceEducation, Design and Practice – Understanding skills in a Complex World
Abbreviated titleEducation, Design and Practice
CountryUnited States
CityNew Jersey
Internet address


In this paper we will present a live project delivered to second year students (Ba (Hons) Architecture) at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design in partnership with a local contractor (sponsor and technical advisor) and a nursery (client). Students were asked to design an external structure for an outdoor area in a Montessori Kindergarten. In order to experience the building, design and construction process, this live project was composed by seven stages, directly related with RIBA plan of work:Stage 1(Preparation and Brief): Students were asked to perform focus group discussions with children, semi structured interviews with staff, behavioral mapping, site analysis, site survey and brief definition.Stage 2 (Concept Design): Students, working in pairs, have developed and presented their projects to sponsors and to the client. Ten projects have been Short-listed after the presentation.Stage 3 (Design Development) and Stage 4 (Technical Design): Students working in groups of 6 elements have produced a BIM project. Four final projects have been selected after a second presentation.Stage 5 (Construction) and Stage 6 (Handover): Students were regrouped in groups of 15 students, have produced and assembled the external structures at the kindergarten. Stage 7 (In use): In order to understand the impact of their designs, students went back to the kindergarten two months later and have performed a post-occupancy evaluation. This live project enhanced student’s engagement and revealed to be beneficial for all the partners at different levels. Students could understand the different stages of the design process, work in teams of 2, 6 and 15 elements, deal with a real client, respond to a real budget and site and experience the construction process. The POE revealed to be a strong learning tool where students were able to reflect on the impact of their designs and develop their critical thinking. For the nursery, the work developed by the students was ground breaking and helped them to understand the role of the architect. The sponsors were pleased to support this project, develop their social responsibility and to be involved with the future generation of architects.