Architectural Travelers: The Role of Field Trips in Spatial Design Education
Architectural design and its education are physio- and socio-spatial activities. In other words, creating space is concerned with understanding the physical as well as the social/cultural context to produce meaning and values beyond determining and answering the right questions. Informal learning environments have always been an integral part of the profession even before its formal definition. Experiential learning or field trips play a significant role in architectural and spatial design education, yet procedural aspects of designing such a journey have not been discussed by educators regarding active and informal learning. This paper aims to understand the role of field trips and re-discover how they contribute to spatial design education at undergraduate level through the processes of learning by doing and research by design / design by research. The field trips, or the context, are discussed with a three-fold focus as an interdisciplinary design process: (1) Understanding the study field from macro to micro scale; (2) Experiencing and observing the society, culture and daily life; (3) Comparative studies through visits to buildings with similar programs. Case studies with local, national and international/foreign contexts from design studios of primary and secondary cycles are presented in order to illustrate this process.