Gao, Yun and Gao, Jing (2010) Joint Architectural Projects with Students in Visiting Countries During Field Studies. In: Being There - reflections of 20 years of International Architecture Course in Huddersfield School of Architecture. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK, pp. 25-35. ISBN 9781862180864

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The increasing globalization in the world has generated a market for more and more international students studying aboard and increasing number of university graduates working on overseas projects. For these reasons, universities have been developing international oriented curricula to foster skills that meet the requirements of diverse cultures. As part of the process, overseas field trip has become even more important in architecture curriculum. One strategy to enhance students’ design and communication skills in diverse geographical and cultural locations is to work with the universities in the visiting countries on joint projects.

The arrangements of the joint projects with overseas universities should be considered in two dimensions. On the one hand, lectures and reading lists need to be systematically formalized to provide knowledge of the local culture. On the other hand, cultures and societies change in time and place, the design skills not only need to be sensible to the local culture and environment, but also need to engage the critical thinking in order to analysis the new context, find the problems, and come up with proper design solutions.

In the joint projects, different from designing in the studio, the design process is a communication and discussion process. The process of learning about the local culture is the process of finding the solutions to problems. Find the right problems locally, create solutions and understand the impacts of the design on the local users are parallel activities. By using two China trips as case study this paper will discuss the organisation and arrangement of the joint projects, especially the way to foster cross-culture awareness and inter-cultural communicative strategies in a four step task. This task is for students to record expectations, experience and reflections of their learning processes before, during and after the trip.

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