Shadow Lines: Examining Cultural Context in Design Studio
In an increasingly globalized world, the notion of culture has become; a tension point in the education and training of future architects. In professional practice, the pursuit of global markets; for firms leads to expanding international clients and multicultural; contexts. Yet, the statistics within American architectural; education and practice indicate a severe lack of diversity. Is there; something that educators can do differently so that more students; of minority study architecture, earn a degree and eventually; become licensed? Perhaps the first step is to understand the; cultural barriers perceived by these minority students. Can we; understand the cultural barriers for minorities so that they can; have an improved experience and better education? Whether; we recognize it or not, cultural context influences how one sees; the world, engages with it and defines one’s place within it. Culture; impacts context and becomes a formative site in which individuals; engage in the efforts and processes to meet the desired; goals of a group or organization.; This article addresses the development of a student initiated research; group to examine new strategies for inclusive practices in; the design studio. It explores a model of assessing cultural differences; that impact instructional situations. It adapts the cultural; dimensions of learning framework (CDLF) developed by Parrish; and Linder-Van Berschot for the studio and creates a tool for; comprehending the cultural dynamics of the course. The CDFL; framework describes a set of eight cultural parameters regarding; social relationships, epistemological beliefs, and temporal perceptions.; Through its implementation and use in the studio, faculty; and students become more aware of the cultural forces at; play in the learning environment. It may be a useful tool for understanding; learning preferences, and a platform to discuss instructional; strategies of the course. It can create an avenue for; discussion by faculty and students to learn about cultural dimensions; of learning. To enhance architectural education in a globalizing; world, faculty and students can be more aware of the; impacts of culture to help students of diverse backgrounds to; adapt and thrive, to clarify and strengthen goals and learning outcomes,; and to possibly increase student retention.