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Hands-on building practices in architectural education : METU summer construction practices

Turgay, Özce
This thesis explores the position of hands-on building practices in architectural education by focusing on METU Summer Construction Practices (ARCH190), which has been conducted in the rural sites of Turkey since 1958. It is believed that the summer construction practice is a tool of education to acquire knowledge of architecture by building 1-to-1 scale constructions. METU Summer Construction Practices are examined by asking the questions of أwhat is learnedؤ and أhow is learnedؤ in order to understand both the content and objectives and also the pedagogic strategies, learning methods of the summer construction practices. The main purpose of summer construction practices is learning how to build and ways of making architecture. The basic learning methods of METU summer construction practices are determined as learning by doing, learning with collaborative working, task-oriented and student-based active learning, integrating the tasks of designing-building, and learning from working with and for the context. This study emphasizes that learning by building 1-to-1 scale constructions are complementary of learning in design studios, and it should become an integral part of the whole learning process in the design education. Hands-on building practice is a productive process that supports the design education. Students are expected to derive and produce knowledge by building full-scale constructions in the real site. The thesis argues for the fact that hands-on building practice is to be more than the obtaining of knowledge and skill of making architecture only by instructions. Learning process is to be based on the simultaneous involvement of thinking-doing (taking action)-skill-production of knowledge rather than a linear process of knowledge-skill-taking action.