The Design Critique: Faculty to Student, Student to Student, Student to Self

By Stephanie Travis.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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

This paper focuses on the pedagogy of teaching design and architecture students, with particular attention to their emotional development and identity as designers and professionals. The design jury has become a dominant feature of design school, an accepted educational approach that emphasizes the all-knowing critic (e.g., the professor, other faculty, or the guest professional), with minimal dialogue between the presenter and other students in the course. Educators must push the self- and peer-critique to the forefront of design and architecture education to create life-long learners within the design disciplines. Critiques should encourage relationships between faculty and student, student and student, and student and self. The accepted student/professor relationship in design school portrays the stereotype of the faculty as master or egomaniac, with a goal to emphasize negativity in a project. Feedback from faculty and professionals, the dominant aspect of the design jury system, should be merely one element within a broader critique format. For students to become critical and independent thinkers, they must be given the opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions. Professors must re-adjust their focus on the students and give them the tools to critique themselves and their classmates. This process of self-regulation and self- and peer-assessment will give students the emotional maturity and confidence they need to become successful designers. This research culminates in a pedagogical methodology for faculty to adopt in the design studio. The dominating nature of the design critique is the result of an existing hierarchal system of critics; a shift to more equality among students and peers would enrich the emotional and educational experience of students.

Keywords: Design Critique, Peer-critique, Self-critique, Self-assessment, Self-regulation, Pedagogy, Interior Design Education, Architecture Education

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.77-85. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 309.904KB).

Prof. Stephanie Travis

Director and Associate Professor, Interior Design Program, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Stephanie received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She is Director and Associate Professor of Interior Architecture and Design at The George Washington University, where she teaches courses in design, drawing and the history of modern architecture. Prior to teaching, she was Senior Architectural Designer for Vicente Wolf Associates in New York City. She is also NCIDQ certified and LEED accredited.