Begüm Erçevik Sönmez



In the architectural design studio education, series of approaches, such as vertical, traditional, constructivist or virtual, are executed. In this research, an experiment was executed with the aim of revealing the effects of different architectural design studio approaches through the comparisons of student assessments. The study was based on the research question related to which of the approaches applied in the architectural design studio is the successful and productive one. The research hypothesized that in architectural design education, the independent design studio approach is more successful than the controlled studio approach.


Two different approaches were compared. The independent studio approach, in which students studied freely in studio milieu, was applied full-time 9 hours a week session in the Fall Semester. The controlled design studio approach, executed as two half days per week in the Spring Semester, proceeded with the desk critiques in a group supervised by an instructor. At the end of each semester a questionnaire that evaluated each design studio approach was conducted to 44 third-year design studio students.


The controlled design studio appeared to be a more dynamic approach in which following on the critiques of the instructor was ease. The group instructor provided sufficient time to all students for the critiques, whereas in the independent studio approach, the interaction between the instructors and the students was weak. Following up the critiques of different instructors was a difficult process. The controlled design studio was found to be more successful than the independent studio approach. The hypothesis of the research is not confirmed.

Research Limitations/Implications

The most important limitation of this study was that the comparisons were only made through the students’ assessments, and the instructors were not included in the research.

Social/Practical Implications

The meetings with the instructors should be arranged twice a week to keep students under control of instructors, and to prevent the reluctance of the students in the design studio.


This study makes a difference in comparing studio approaches and contributes to the discussions on architectural design studio education.


Architectural design, design education, design studio, educational approaches

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15320/ICONARP.2020.134
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