Learning to Change Together: The Social Context of Architectural Learning

By Lara Mackintosh.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 5, 2014 $US5.00

In architectural education, learning is often structured to inform and support change to sustainable design and behaviour. The built and natural contexts in which this learning takes place are considered an important element in informing the new ways of seeing and knowing our environments, which are necessary for change. Yet the social context of learning also affects the opportunities for such transformative learning experiences. This paper discusses how this social context can influence the way in which the learner interacts with the built and natural environment and how this, in turn, can support transformation. Recent experiences of different models of learning in the US, New Zealand, and Australia are used to demonstrate the contexts—social, natural, and built—in which learning about the environment in general, and architecture specifically, takes place. An ethno-methodological approach has been taken to develop an understanding of how meaning is made through learning experiences, and how this influences behaviour. Through observations and documentation, the nature of social interchange, the role of the natural and built environments, and the effect of the learning experiences, both formal and informal, on behaviour are explored. Findings from this investigation will inform the development of a framework for architectural education.

Keywords: Learning, Architecture, Social Context, Transformation

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 8, Issue 3, December 2014, pp.57-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 5, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 585.352KB)).

Lara Mackintosh

Lecturer, Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture, School of Built Environment, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Lara Mackintosh has over 15 years of experience in the profession, working in the residential, retail, and educational sectors. Now, as an academic in Perth at Curtin University School of Built Environment, Lara has been developing her keen interest in sustainability in architecture through her research and teaching practice. Her current research activities are associated with developing a holistic approach to architecture, in which the social, economic, and environmental issues of sustainability in the built environment can be addressed both through practice and through the education of architects. Lara is currently exploring this as a PhD candidate. The focus of her thesis is the development of a pedagogical framework for environmental education to support long-term sustainable behavior.