in our experience in architecture design courses with urban housing subject, generally the students are required to choose a portion of land in a city and introduce their family (or a familiar family to the student) as the user of the project. they conduct a study about the project requirements and plan for achieving the objectives in order to design a residential unit according to those specifications. but due to the great number of chosen parts on one side and since generally the recorded information from the environment and surrounding texture is incomplete and/or would not be conducted at all. on the other side the instructors have not opportunity to emphasize the importance of the work environment and field and its influential role on the final design. in most times disregarding the environment has negative impact on other experiences of students in other design workshops.
the output of such procedure is training architects with no concerns about environment urban textures. a brief glance to the urban areas and the type of relation of architectural works in our cities would reveal a lot on this shortcoming.
team working in architectural design workshops and conveying the ‘obligation’ feeling to students and considering the ‘relation’ principle in these workshops seemed difficult or even impossible at the beginning. but our experience with simple method may achieve the objective. albeit the team work here doesn’t only mean working in a team for a group of students. the most important part of our objective is at the same time convey this meaning that an architectural work in any scale is a part of a large group and has an inevitable interaction with it.
in this experience each student designs a residential unit on the basis of the family’s terms and they enjoy the benefit of creation of a personal project. here: the instructor by choosing a small complex in the neighborhood, one area, alley and or . . . as the theme or environment for practice gathered scattered projects of the students in the city and through that enlighten deep concepts of architecture in their minds. Concepts such as texture, environment, composition, membership, contribution, team work, and obligation.
in this experience each student had to choose a portion of land from that neighborhood complex and commence his/her activity. the gradual formation of the personal projects of students has the following results:
definition of the neighborhood complex as the larger project that would be completed by the group of students.
emphasizing of the teachers on the importance and necessity of considering the environment and neighbors.
construction of maquette from the whole site of the complex that would gradually developed and completed by each act of the student.
The instructors’ references to the existed issues and notes in the complex.
continuous encouragement of students to observe and solve the existed problems in the site would be accounted as the influential steps in achieving the required objectives.
this experience not only fulfilled two principles of ‘creation’ and ‘donation’ from the theory of ‘obligation’ but also could provide the possibility of revealing of some aspects of ‘relation’ - the third principle. in this experience the students conducted their personal projects while practicing contribution and engagement, the natural specifications of any architectural act, as a member of an integrated group who was creating a neighborhood complex. in this manner they developed their capabilities in establishing relation, coordination, and counter action as well as finding a deeper understanding of the essence of architecture.