Latest Central Hub project: Redesigning the studio critique
This report outlines the key findings of research in the area of the design critique (“crit”) in architectural and design education.
Traditionally the design crit is a key part of design and architectural education which dates from the nineteenth-century Beaux Arts education system. It involves students publicly presenting their design projects in front of critics, usually from academia and design practice where critics ask questions and provide feedback on the project to the student. The aim of the design crit is to provide ungraded oral formative or summative feedback, depending on when the crit occurs in relation to the design exercise, and to prepare the students for their careers as professional designers presenting their designs to clients.
This research project sought to test the validity of new design crit types in the context of architectural and design education. This ambition is contextualised by research which has located pedagogical difficulties with the Traditional Crit form, which has been central to architectural and design education since the nineteenth-century.
The study trialled the different crit types in different design studio classes. These were:
• the Performance Review Crit
• the Judging Panel Crit
• the Open Marking Session
• the Blogging Crit
• the Speed Crit
The research results are positive and demonstrate the potential for new ways to engage students in the context of the design crit. While the Traditional Crit is a source of anxiety for a significant number of students (45%), it is also highly valued by students, almost as an initiation ritual, and a part of their identity as architectural and design students. While the “Speed Crit” was perceived as being the most productive crit, all of the experimental crits performed as good as, or better than, the Traditional Crit. Taking up these ideas fits into existing course structures, because they provide alternatives to the Traditional Crit, and are aimed at being located in a course at the interim and final design stages, the very points where the Traditional Crit currently sits.
Visit the project page to download the report and read more about the project.