1:1 Built Structures: the radical pedagogy of designing-by-making for undergraduate architectural education

The project aims to review the learning objectives and outcomes of incorporating designing-by-making techniques for undergraduate architecture students. Based on the Built Structure projects that are incorporated into the curriculum of the School of Architecture for part two students, this study investigates the pedagogical value of making in enhancing the skills of the designer in three areas: experimental form-finding, collaboration and construction techniques.

Department: Architecture

Supervised by: Dr Carolina Vasilikou

The Placement Project

Designing-by-making is a learning tool that reverses the design development approach in architectural education, from the initial design concept to the later stages of construction. Traditionally, it used as part of architectural research and prototype testing of mock-up systems that take place prior to the final design of a building or structure. In architectural education, this process is usually introduces at a postgraduate level, were students embark on a research project of experimentation. In the last years, designing-by-making techniques have started to infiltrate the curriculum of undergraduate architectural education. The new School of Architecture has implemented this approach, from its first year of operation, in collaboration with Invisible Studio. This project aims to review the current state of designing-by-making in undergraduate architectural education, understand the curriculum opportunities and limitations as design tool, and outline the learning benefits and outcomes for the students at their level of study. The main outcome of the six-week research will be a literature review of the current design-by-making practices in UG architectural education in the UK and Europe, followed by a review of the Built Structure project that the Reading School of Architecture has organised as part of its curriculum for second year students. This will be based on semi-structured interviews that the student will develop with the PI. The work will contribute towards a journal paper publication in the Journal of Architectural Education.


Write a literature review of existing designing-by-making practices in undergraduate architectural education in the UK and Europe Conduct interviews with students and tutors/instructors that have participated in a Built Structure project organised as part of the curriculum of the School of Architecture Identify the learning outcomes of a design-by-making project for the students participating. Present their findings in an SBE lunchtime research seminar Create a poster of their work

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Good writing skills Good analytical skills in compiling research material Familiarity with online research search engines and the Library’s online resources (Desirable) Good knowledge of IT (word and image processor)

Skills which will be developed during the placement

Develop their research skills in conducting interviews and collating primary data. Understanding how to conduct a systematic organisation of research material Gain an insight into an exciting emerging research field The student will be recognised as a research contributor Develop presentation skills

Place of Work

London Road campus, School of Architecture

Hours of Work


Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 17 June 2019 - Friday 26 July 2019

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 8th March and 5th April 2019. Students should submit their CV and a letter stating why you are interested in this specific opportunity directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will then be invited to interview.

Return to Placements List

Page navigation