Experiential learning in architectural education: model-making in the digital age
Orr, K, Experiential learning in architectural education: model-making in the digital age, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL 2008): Identity of Experience: Challenges for Experiential Learning, 08-12 December 2008, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-8. (2008) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]
This paper examines model-making, specifically prototyping, as a problem-based, and possibly
experiential, learning activity. Prototyping activities are increasingly being introduced by schools of architecture
around the world for the teaching of architectural design and construction technology. Such activities mediate
between sophisticated digital modeling technologies, new materials and new construction techniques, and are a means
of enabling students to oscillate between the abstract and the concrete: between the virtual world of the computer
screen and the physical reality of a model built to scale from representative materials. This paper reviews the
literature on what is being done and how. It discusses whether current prototyping activities are taking advantage of
the large body of knowledge contained within theories of experiential learning and proposes that a series of guidelines
should be formulated to inform the implementation of experimental prototyping activities in the architecture studio.
The paper concludes with my own prototyping case study conducted at the University of Technology, Sydney in
2007, which was deliberately designed as an experiential learning activity. Perceptions of its successes and
challenges are discussed. A hands-on construction activity will be provided to engage participants in this session.