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Multifaceted Benefits of Studio Based Service Learning


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Our senior commercial (non-office) studio partnered with a local inter-denominational church on the brink of beginning a building campaign but was without direction. It will be shown how the process not only benefited multiple entities, but also facilitated the meeting of course objectives. There can be many challenges to such a project type but early planning and an open dialog with the client group and students alleviated many issues. Concerns: Aligning client needs and expectations with course competencies; Beliefs/preferences of students; Preliminary planning for instructor. Prior to student involvement, basic conceptual goals were discussed with the committee and a potential site was acquired to give students as practical an experience as possible. The committee was informed of the course competencies to be retained and the time commitments required of this partnership.
Students were given background information about the church and its founders, learned about the developer, and analyzed the master plan of the site. Students were given brief research and on-site observation homework assignments (re: liturgical design, multi-use facilities, etc.) and returned to class to pool their findings. Students and I discussed how designing this type of large scale, mutli-use facility and how the future pro-bono client interaction would benefit them as future designers. This allowed them to take more ownership of the project and set aside discomforts they may have had with the subject matter. Students developed, as a group, their own programming list based on findings in their research and the preliminary conceptual ideas of the committee. They interviewed the committee and toured the proposed site with the developer. Students forecasted attainable sustainability goals, design appropriately and documented their solutions. Client contact continued throughout the semester through email correspondence, a midterm visit by the committee to our studio, and a final presentation to the committee and professional jurors. During winter break, student projects were put on display at the current facility for viewing by the congregation and community. Students grew from the client interaction and real world application and reacted positively to the overall experience. Course objectives were enriched through authentic client, tangible project site, and ongoing communication opportunities. ; The client/end user received free design ideas for a potential building campaign and assistance with developing the organization’s facility program. ; For the instructor, this served as an important addition to the teaching and service categories of academic advancement. Creative activity and scholarship opportunities were attained by professional exposure and supplemental consultations; Positive program exposure was an advantage for the university while the ID profession benefited from exposing a local audience to the true responsibilities of professional designers.

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Multifaceted Benefits of Studio Based Service Learning

  2. 2. Faculty Concerns(what prevents us from incorporating service learning when we know it is beneficial?) “It is difficult to align client needs and expectations with required course competencies” “Pro-bono work involves some sensitive clientele. I am concerned about the beliefs/preferences of my students”“There is too much preliminary planning for me, the instructor, to do”
  3. 3. Senior Commercial Studio Description: Space planning and design of environments used in retailing, hospitality and related non-office spaces. Project: Utilizing a local non-profit organization as the client for a full term senior ID studio project as a method of service learningObjectives of the courseList condensed to include only those pertinent to the inclusion of and interaction with a tangibleclient. Primary course competencies include those related to the schematic, design development anddocumentation phases of an upper level commercial (non-corporate) ID studio.Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to: Demonstrate programming skills, including problem identification, identification of client and user needs, information gathering research and analysis. Demonstrate understanding of theories of human behavior in interior environments including human factors and the relationship between human behavior and the built environment. Demonstrate critical, analytical, strategic, and creative thinking as well as the ability to think visually and volumetrically. Demonstrate professional discipline and active listening skills. Express ideas clearly in oral presentations and critiques, communicate visually through the presentation of color, materials, and furnishings, as well as communicate clearly in written specifications, schedules, project programs, and concept statements.
  4. 4. Eternal Fellowship Fort Mill, SCCurrent Location: Neighborhood YMCA
  5. 5. Current location… YMCA
  6. 6. Course Timeline and Lesson Plan for Service Learning Studio:Prior to semester start:Introductory meeting with client group prior to student meetingExplain requirements of student project vs “real” projectDiscussions: Time commitment Conceptual wish list Spatial wish list Land preferencesInstructor research andcorrespondence to acquireland example for use inproject
  7. 7. Conceptual Ideas Formulated by the StaffCurrentTimelessChangeableEfficient use of SpaceWarmth/ “Living Room”Encourage LoiteringMusicPart of CommunityMulti sensoryWaterEnvironmentalStewardship
  8. 8. Annexation doubles size of Fort Mill Town Council approves 5,000-acre addition By Jonathan Allen · Updated 07/29/08The Culture & Heritage Museums (CHM) is developing a new museum on the Catawba River in Fort Mill at I-77West of I-77 and south of Sutton Road, officials with the Cultureand Heritage Commission and Cherokee Partners are finalizingplans for a new museum on the Catawba River and the KanawhaDevelopment on about 400 acres.The plan includes 40 to 50 acres of commercial development and337 single-family homes, 111 town houses and as many as 267apartments.Kanawha developer Cherokee SDG plans to start with a smallsection of homes near the museum site as models and testbedsfor sustainable and "green" design and technologies that may beincorporated in the overall development, said Project ManagerAllen Harrington.The Kanawha plan also includes a 15.4-acre site set aside for theFort Mill school district for an elementary school. Renderings by William McDonough + Partners
  9. 9. Site Hydrology Slope Solar and Wind Orientation Archaeological Sites Graphics by William McDonough + Partners
  10. 10. Selected Plot of Land Graphics by William McDonough + Partners
  11. 11. THE SET-UP:Introduce students to term project Introduction of students to neighborhood, current church mission and issues Introduction to Kanawha Development and Master Plan Discussions regarding preconceived notions and spiritual experiences Ask students to develop 5 reasons why this project will help them be a better designerLiterature reviewDevelopment of programming questions for initial client interviewIntroductory meeting of students and church representatives(Instructor continuing to act as link throughout rest of semester)Student tour of land with developer and discussion of site implications
  12. 12. Points and Questions for Meeting with Eternal RepresentativesClarification of Goals and ConceptsLogistical/Demographic QuestionsPeople SpacesWorship SpaceOfficesChildren’s AreasSmall GroupLarge GroupPrayer RoomFellowship spaceYouthOutdoor SpacesSupport Spaces**Food Service**RetailSustainable Practices
  13. 13. MEETING THE COURSE COMPETENCIESClass discussions of implications of this type of building, user group, and occupancy type on: Space Planning and Zoning Codes and Standards Multi-use and Multi-Occupancy (homework activity and field trip) FF&E Mechanical/Plumbing, PVD design Maintenance and Security issues RCP and Lighting Green design & LEED (what are attainable goals for this project?)Guidance for graphic and verbal presentation for mixed groups (client, end users and professional jurors)Guest speaker on specialty area (Sanctuary and Acoustical Design)Utilization of IIDA continuing education opportunities related to subject (Retail/Hospitality Forum)Presentations included: - Small group progress critiques throughout semester - Progress presentations in studio with church representatives (week 6-7) - Final presentation at church office with building committee and professional jurors (week 14-15) - Project display for congregation and communityPost-critique reflection sessions as a debriefing andto create talking points after each presentation……To truly be service learning, reflection must take place!
  14. 14. Tangible and Intangible Results
  15. 15. Patricia Allen (K&B Designer – Charlotte)
  16. 16. Erin Larson (LS3P – Charleston)
  17. 17. Ashley Hall (Little Diversified Architectural Consultants – Charlotte)
  18. 18. The Results:Course objectives that were primarily satisfied or enriched through theinclusion of an authentic client, tangible project site, and ongoingcommunication opportunities: Demonstrate programming skills, including problem identification,identification of client and user needs, information gathering research andanalysis. Demonstrate understanding of theories of human behavior ininterior environments including human factors and the relationshipbetween human behavior and the built environment. Demonstrate critical, analytical, strategic, and creative thinking as well as the ability to think visually and volumetrically. Demonstrate professional discipline and active listening skills. Express ideas clearly in oral presentations and critiques, communicate visually …. as well as communicate clearly in written specifications, schedules, project programs, and concept statements.
  19. 19. “This was the one and only opportunity I had to work with an actual, living, breathing client. Getting the chance to meet with them and gain feedback from what they were looking for was a great experience. Also, in the end, getting a chance topresent directly to Eternal helped me become more confident in my abilities not only with design work but also my presentation skills.The other added element was the sustainable component. This project helped me become more comfortable with the format of LEED and its general concepts. Ihonestly feel, since I had this exposure, I was more prepared to begin studying forthe exam. Having an early encounter with applying some of this knowledge really helped me to be more comfortable with taking the exam and even applying the concepts to true LEED projects today.” Ashley W. Hall, CDT, LEED AP Winthrop INDS Graduate Workplace|Interior Architecture Studio Little Diversified Architectural Consultants
  20. 20. Before Photos (vacant Daycare Center) Space Acquired by Eternal Church- 2009
  21. 21. After PhotosEternal Church- 2010
  22. 22. The Results:So, who benefited from this example of service learning? The The THE PROFESSIONClients Faculty The The program & Students institutionHandouts available for digital distribution include (email request to ):•Syllabus•Course Timeline and Lesson Plan•Student Project Requirements•Student Programming Questionnaire for ClientQuestions……