Re-Creating Educational Spaces

By Debra Ruben and Ulrike Altenmüller-Lewis.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A workshop setting is a format that allows for intensive interaction among and with the students and their instructors, and is recognized as a highly effective and inspiring teaching method in design. RE-CREATE, an interdisciplinary seminar comprised of a series of three public lectures with workshops, focused on the topic of school design and user participation, allowing students to experience and learn about this important field of architectural practice from accomplished designers and architects. Three established practitioners and educators, known in the discipline as excellent and approachable teachers, served as workshop leaders for a new course format that facilitated the collaboration of students from Interior Design and Architecture through a co‐taught class. Their theoretical approach to the design of educational spaces and their involvement of future users throughout the process is exemplary and has been widely recognized in design and architecture. Each workshop began with a lecture followed by two days of concentrated interaction. Under guidance of the invited mentors, student teams collaborating with children, schoolteachers and parents from an urban public school formed assumptions that brought the design process to the surface as evidenced in both their design concepts and teamwork strategies. This intense process, acting as part extended charrette and part learning laboratory allows students first to experiment, then to participate and finally to take action. The workshop model has been recognized as a powerful learning setting for design students. Equally successful have been experiences involving future stakeholders in a guided design process. Innovative however is to combine these models, bringing design students and non-designers without prior exposure to architecture or interior design together. This provides students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in collaborating with future users in the design process, a major factor in developing designs that better meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Keywords: User Participation, Educational Spaces, Collaborative Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.313-326. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.518MB).

Debra Ruben

Assistant Professor, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design Department of Architecture & Interiors, Drexel University, Berwyn, PA, USA

Debra Ruben is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Interiors at Drexel University and teaches both lecture and studio courses in the graduate and undergraduate Interior Design program. Curriculum development and research includes integrating sustainable design into Drexel’s CIDA accredited Interior Design program. Debra’s area of research centers on Interdisciplinary design thinking and sustainability issues related to community and participatory design practices. An Interior Design practitioner for 18 years, her work has won several awards including Best of Show for the IDEC 2005 juried Interior Design Competition.

Dr. Ulrike Altenmüller-Lewis

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture & Interiors, Antoinette Wastphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Ulrike Altenmüller-Lewis is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Architecture Program at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Prior to her position at Drexel University, she has taught at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in Germany and at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech. Ulrike is a registered architect with the Architektenkammer Baden-Württemberg, Germany and the State of New York. She has practiced in Germany as well as in the USA, where she has been working with RTKL Associates in Washington DC and Alfredo De Vido in New York City. Ulrike holds a Diploma in Architecture and a Doctorate from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany. She has also studied architecture at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Spain and in Rome, Italy. In her research, Ulrike focuses on school architecture and the impact of the built environment on human wellbeing and performance. Recently she was invited to present her findings on contemporary Finnish school buildings in several international conferences.


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