Day one of fall design studio left many of us flustered and frustrated. Thirty-one students were trying to formulate different groups for upcoming semester assignments… Organizing groups was not the issue; the problem in this scenario was that there is no space in our studio for an effective congregation of more than about four or five people at a time, let alone thirty-three people (the two instructors included). The layout of the studio space is rectangular – the room is very long and narrow, as you can see in the image below (image by author). I began thinking about the design of studio spaces like this one. It would be very beneficial to incorporate a large open space used for conferencing and presentations in the studio. The junior/senior interior design studio across the building has one such space. During my undergraduate studies in the interior design program, we utilized that conferencing space quite often for lectures, presentations, one-on-one critiques with instructors, and group meetings. It is an effective space, located in the middle of the classroom between the junior and senior studio sections.
If designed with a conferencing area, the design studio becomes a much more functional space for students and faculty. Without ever leaving the studio, the class can have project presentations and larger group meetings. Additionally, it becomes easier for students to check their work and presentations in a digital format before presenting. This functionality within the studio would free up the separate conference room for others to use.
Without the frustration of the first day of class, the integration of a conference space within an architectural studio would not have crossed my mind. Now it seems like a very necessary and beneficial aspect of the space for both students and instructors.