The last twenty years have seen the emergence of design/build as an integral part of architecture school curricula in the United States and around the world. In the typical architectural design program, students design a hypothetical project in a studio course. These projects usually lack real-world constraints like budgets, clients and regulations. Design/build projects, on the other hand, present real-world problems to the students, asking them to both design and construct a solution. This approach to design education is one manifestation of the teaching philosophy of “learning by doing” famously championed in the foundational writings of American philosopher John Dewey. The Montessori teaching method used at select primary schools around the world provides another example of this educational approach. Integrating design and construction of full-scale projects into the curricula of architecture schools has leveraged Dewey’s notion of the best teaching method—students engaging with and actively manipulating the environment in the process of learning rather than passively observing the world in order to understand the principles that organize it.
College of Architecture, Art and Design,