The study of architecture requires a multi-disciplinary approach. From analysing surroundings, planning and designing a structure to constructing a live building with functioning parts, the profession demands in-depth knowledge of sciences, arts and problem-solving. An architect is not only responsible for creating the structure itself but is also responsible for communicating with and leading a team of individuals with different specializations.

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Historically, the master-apprentice system relied on practical training and real-life exposure to build skills. Today, students are confined by studio walls for the majority of their studies. Though in-house lectures can prepare one for the theoretical functionality of a structure, an architecture student can never be prepared for the real world without getting their hands dirty. Hands-on workshops bring the opportunity to engage students in activities and interact with one another instead of just listening to a speaker. 

Here are ten reasons why hands-on workshops are essential for architecture schools.

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1. Help Process Information More Efficiently 

The left hemisphere of the brain handles analyzing and listening processes while the right hemisphere controls visual and spatial processes. By going beyond lectures, into the world of hands-on learning, one is allowed to engage both sides of the brain. This helps to form stronger connections and store more relevant information in the long run.

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Left Brain vs Right Brain ©www.healthline.com/health/left-brain-vs-right-brain#left-brainright-brain-theory

2. Create An Attentive, Engaged Atmosphere

According to research, only 20 percent of presented information is retained in a traditional lecture environment. When students are allowed to indulge in hands-on projects, this number boosts up to 75 percent. Hands-on workshops allow students to interact and engage with the material. Students are more stimulated and have a higher desire to learn and explore. Besides, students of all ages and fields learn better when they are actively involved in their learning journey.

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Model Making Workshop_© www.liverpool.ac.uk/architecture/facilities/model-making-workshop/

3. Create Lasting Experiences

Reading a book or listening to a lecture does not give a student the freedom to learn through real-life experience. Workshops develop an environment that boosts critical thinking skills. Active learning by touching and exploring something is a powerful tool. It can help retain information through memories instead of just mugging up information from a book that is easily forgotten. 

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Wood Workshop_©www.ntu.ac.uk/study-and-courses/courses/our-facilities/architectural-design-facilities

4. Build Communication Skills

As an architect, one is required to lead a team of diverse experts from structural engineers, soil analysts, technicians to on-site workers. Ensuring seamless communication between these parties becomes paramount and this cannot be taught in a classroom or from a book. Workshops and seminars allow one to converse with new individuals and build communication skills. They can also help one learn industry lingo

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Communication on Site ©www.mulbury.co.uk/news/mulbury-homes/recruiting-now-for-site-managers-and-assistant-site-managers/

5. Simulate Real-world Situations 

Being a student of architecture, one must be fluent in the arena of reacting and responding to real-world situations. One must be prepared to tackle human imperfections, misrepresented data, workmanship inconsistencies and challenges that can’t be described by textbooks and presentations. Working on real-life problems encourages the mind to think beyond two dimensions. 

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Construction Site ©www.lawyernc.com/workers-compensation-lawyer/common-workplace-injuries/construction/

6. Understand Building Materials And Equipment

Having an opportunity to feel and understand building materials and equipment can significantly supplement classroom studies. While also building confidence in handling construction materials and machines, workshops are an incredible way to educate upcoming professionals about workplace safety. 

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Building Materials_ ©www.hmiaward.com/blog/building-materials-trends-sustainability-safety-and-streamlining/

7. Introduce A Sense Of Pride

An important part of creating something is the associated sense of pride. Making something with one’s own hands brings a sense of achievement that can’t be matched by a book. It motivates the student to create more and create better and introduces the joy of creation.

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Student engaged in a carpentry workshop ©www.gbmc.ac.uk/carpentry-and-joinery-certificate-level-1-brightonmet

8. Experiment And Explore

An architect is an inventor. Workshops allow creative minds to experiment and think beyond the box. They pose an excellent opportunity to expand thinking skills and work with a range of ideas. By removing the boundaries of books and lectures, architecture students are given a chance to be unorthodox and innovative.

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Architecture Models Workshop ©Scott S. Warren

9. Encourage Multi-disciplinary Learning

“The function of the architect requires a training in all the departments of learning.”Vitruvius

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Hands-on workshops are an interesting way to incorporate different disciplines into learning. By interacting with experts and students from other fields, architecture students can expand their lexicon and benefit from the overlap of approaches.

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Multi-disciplinary Learning ©https://justengineeringschools.com/top-10-architectural-engineering-schools-world/

10. Opportunity To Interact With Experts 

Workshops present the chance for students to interact with industry experts. Taking advice and inspiration from working professionals can significantly shape one’s ideology and approach to the field. They can help make connections within the fraternity and build lasting relationships. 

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Community Design Workshops _ ©hudsonarchitects.co.uk/news/community-design-workshops

The Architectural community evolves rapidly. With new techniques and materials being discovered every single day, it is impossible for books and traditional curriculum to keep up. Integrating informal learning experiences like hands-on workshops, seminars and competitions into the learning pattern can enable students to build skills in a more holistic manner. They can promote personal as well as professional development by supplementing in-class education.  

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References

Architecture needs to interact. [online] . Available at:  https://www.domusweb.it/en/opinion/2011/06/22/architecture-needs-to-interact.html  [Accessed 22 July 2021]

An architecture student’s necessary experience. [online] . Available at:https://www.ksudesignmake.com/an-architecture-students-necessary-expe [Accessed 22 July 2021]

Part 1- Learning by Doing. [YouTube video]. Available at:https://youtu.be/DTVjQ3QnvCo Orhan, Melike. (March 2017)

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The Role and Importance of Workshops in the Architectural Design Education; Case of “Self Made Architecture İ-İI”. Atilim University. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321447112_The_Role_and_Importance_of_Workshops_in_the_Architectural_Design_Education_Case_of_Self_Made_Architecture_I-II  [Accessed 22 July 2021]

Author

A third year undergrad, Srilalitha believes that the literary universe is a gateway to exploring art and architecture. She has a strong affinity towards music, athletics and photography and enjoys unraveling the similarities between her worlds over a cup of tea.

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