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23 Aug 2021

Report on UNLEARN Towards a new pedagogy for Architecture

Report on UNLEARN Towards a new pedagogy for Architecture

A 5-day online faculty development programme
Dates- 23rd to 27thAugust 2021

No of Participants- 38 (internal + external)
Coordinated by Dr. Shubhi S., Associate Professor, RUSOA
Ar. Pooja Ugrani, Associate Professor, RUSOA

School of Architecture, REVA University organized an online FDP titled- UNLEARN- Towards a new pedagogy for Architecture from 23rd to 27th August 2021. In the words of Alvin Toffler “...the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Learn: To gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.
Unlearn: To discard (something learned, especially false or outdated information) from one's memory.
Relearn: To learn (something) again.

The 5 day FDP welcomed educators in the field of architecture and allied disciplines to immerse themselves in a 5-day unlearning process. The faculty development programme was aimed at examining, evaluating and reimagining the pedagogical strategies for teaching various disciplines under the umbrella of the B.Architecture undergraduate curriculum. Resource persons were drawn from various streams of architectural education to share their varied experiences and expertise with the participants. Some unconventional and novel topics such as Bringing play into the design studio, Project based learning in architecture, design thinking in architectural pedagogy, learning outside the classroom etc were the highlights of the FDP as they generated a sense of curiosity and excitement amongst the participants. Participants were drawn from several colleges of Architecture across India apart from the in house faculty team at School of Architecture, REVA University.

Day 1 started with an inaugural session presided by Dr. P Shyama Raju, Hon’ble Chancellor, REVA University. He congratulated the school on coming up with an FDP on the theme of Unlearning, which he felt is an extremely important cog in the wheel of learning. Dr. M. Dhanamjaya, Vice Chancellor, REVA University also addressed the participants and encouraged them to immerse themselves in the 5 day long learning sessions. The inaugural session was followed by the 1st session of the FDP- Rethinking Architectural Education by Dr. K S Anantha Krishna. Dr. K S Anantha Krishna has established himself as the doyen of Architectural Education in India and is a renowned advocate of pedagogical innovations to keep up with the contemporary challenges.

Session 2 was conducted on the theme titled: Towards a new pedagogy in Architecture: process & catalysts. Prof. Vidya Srikanth, Director, School of Architecture initiated the session with a discussion on the process behind curriculum design and the step by step process that was undertaken for redesigning the curriculum at School of Architecture, REVA University. Dr. Shubhi S. spoke about the Relearn process at RUSOA covering aspects of new curriculum design and introduction of new and innovative courses such as portfolio based History of Architecture.

Day 2 started with a session on- Teaching Structures to Architects by Er. Hashim Abdul Azees. He explained the various sources of inspiration and case studies that can be picked up to generate interest in structures amongst architecture students. He also showcased some studio exercise and experiments that can be conducted within the class to help students relate better to structures and its applications in real life scenario.
The 2nd session of the day was titled- Bringing research into the design studio. This session was conducted by Dr. Kiran Keswani, co-founder at Everyday City Lab. She presented about an innovative Urban design studio experience where students were involved in design of informal spaces, keeping in mind the feedback and requirements of the stakeholders. She elucidated about the significance of citizen engagement in the design process and how studio pedagogy needs to evolve to use online tools and techniques for the same.

Day 3 started with an invigorating session titled- The SSBC experience at RUSOA by Ar. Sneha Murthy and Ar. Sriviji N. Ar. Sneha Murthy shared with the audience her innovative methods and experiments as a part of the SSBC studio at RUSOA. She explained the philosophy behind the integrated course and the pedagogical approaches whereby learning happens by doing. The audience were enthralled by the simple yet effective experiments that were conducted at RUSOA as a part of the SSBC course.

The 2nd session of the day was titled- Bringing play into the design studio. The session was conducted by Design Nonstop, Nasik. Design Nonstop is a design studio helmed by Ar. Rishikesh Khedkar and Ar. Snehal Joshi, both of whom are design educators as well as practitioners. They displayed various innovative strategies by which the teaching learning process can be integrated with the idea of play and hence make the whole experience more attractive as well as rewarding for the students.

Day 4 began with a session on “Problem Based Learning- the PBL experiment at RUSOA” where resource person Prof. Vidya Srikanth explained in detail the theory and practical aspects of applying the method in design studio pedagogy. She spoke about her trials of the PBL method at RUSOA and the impact that was created on the students’ learning curve as a result if this new technique.

Session 2 on Day 3 was conducted by Dr. Sampada Peshwe, Dean Academics at SMMCA, Nagpur on the esoteric theme of Design thinking in Architecture. She began the session with a basic overview of commonly used terms and terminologies in the field of design thinking. She gave an elaborate view of the various design thinking oriented exercises used for the Basic design studio. Her session culminated with a fun exercise based on mind mapping and idea generation where all participants enthusiastically participated.

Day 5, the concluding day of UNLEARN-FDP began with an exciting session titled- Learning outside the classroom by Ar. Gita Balakrishnan, Founder of Ethos and Acedge. Ar. Gita explored various ways of taking learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom The second part of her session focussed on preparation of a manifesto by teachers where she guided them through a multipoint perspective towards design, student engagement and the feedback process. The knowledge shared by her was well appreciated by the participants as it guided them towards coming up with their own personalized philosophy and manifesto for application in the design studio.

The last session of the FDP was designed as a Discussion/ Practice session. The session was helmed by Dr. Kiran Keswani where she encouraged participants to share and discuss regarding their own experiences formulating briefs and teaching in the design studio. Several participants came up with brief presentations with innovative ideas for design studio briefs. These ideas were further deliberated upon and refined through discussions and feedback from the resource person and other participants.

The 5 day FDP concluded with a short valedictory session. Prof. Vidya Srikanth, Director, School of Architecture thanked all resource persons and participants for sparing their valuable time and enthusiastically participating in the sessions. Ar. Pooja Ugrani delivered the formal vote of thanks and congratulated all participants on successfully completing the 5 day FDP programme.

We thank the team and management at REVA University for their constant support and encouragement towards all such endeavours. The feedback received from the participants suggests that the FDP sessions have indeed been very useful in reorienting the participants’ minds towards newer avenues in the teaching learning process.

Report on UNLEARN Towards a new pedagogy for Architecture