Meddings, Carl (2020) The Design Project Review and its Role in the Process of Becoming an Architect in England. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The design project review (DPR) is an established event in architectural education in England and in many other countries. It is a central element of the design studio in which architecture tutors, visiting critics and students come together to review the work of a group of students at various stages on their journey to becoming an architect. It is generally viewed as an opportunity to discuss both individual projects and broader concepts of architecture and the architectural profession in a safe and supportive environment. This thesis takes a naturalistic world view, informed by an interpretive epistemology that seeks to uncover what is happening in the DPR through an enquiry into how the participants in the situation (students under review, their peers, in attendance and their tutors) comprehend and interpret the occasion. It examines the experience of participants in a DPR, their roles and patterns of engagement, and seeks to better understand the nature of the event and its contribution to the process of becoming an architect.

The data was collected through first hand observations of final year, undergraduate DPRs in three English schools of architecture, together with interviews with design tutors and group interviews with student participants in each location. This data is analysed using the interpretive tools of ‘habitus’ and ‘field’ developed by Pierre Bourdieu and with reference to the literature on studio culture and the DPR.

The thesis acknowledges that, as a fundamental (and enduring) aspect of architectural education, the DPR has significant value in both its relationship to each student’s experience of the culture and cultural practice of architectural education, and in situating the student experience within the broader context (or field) of architectural practice. The problems of the DPR are expounded and key themes are identified and critically examined: specifically, the nature and purpose of the DPR, the behaviours and interactions of participants, the environments in which DPRs are situated and the relationship of the DPR to other teaching and learning events.

The learning experience in architectural education is fundamentally one of individual expression and self-constitution. This study places the individual architecture student at the centre of the process, and shows that it is their awareness of their own particular position in relation to their work and in relation to the field of architecture that underpins and motivates their learning and personal development. The relationship of an individual’s habitus to the architectural field is found to be at its most intense within the DPR, where the individual student and their work is held up for examination by professionals in the field. In this way the event serves to act as a powerful ‘staging post’, which stimulates students to develop their work expressively.

FINAL THESIS - Meddings.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email