Lehrstuhl für Computergestütztes Planen in der Architektur
Fakultät für Architektur / RWTH Aachen

The E-Talier

(Inter-University networked Design Studios)

Autoren: Forgber, Uwe & Russell, Peter (Russell )
Erschienen in: Promise and Reality: State of the Art versus State of Practice in Computing for the Design and Planning Process (18th eCAADe Conference Proceedings)
Seiten: 459-465
Ort: Weimar
Land: Deutschland
Jahr: 2000
ISBN: 0-9523687-5-7


The widespread infiltration of internet based variations of traditional areas of society (e-commerce, e-business, e-mail etc.) will not spare the halls of academia in its propagation. The term courseware is well nigh 20 years old and considerable research and development has been done in bringing network based distributed courses to university consortiums including those in architecture and civil engineering. Indeed, the European Commission has recently approved funding for a 3-year web-based virtual university of architecture and construction technology: the WINDS project led by the University of Ancona. Such attempts to create e-courses are largely an extension of typical courseware where the syllabus is quantified and divided into lessons for use by the students alone or in conjunction with their tutors and professors. This is quite adequate in conveying the base knowledge of the profession. However, the tenants of being an architect or engineer involve the deft use of that unwieldy named and deliciously imprecise tool called "design". Teaching design sooner or later involves the design studio: a pedagogically construed environment of simulation intended to train, not teach the skills of designing. This is fundamentally different from normal courseware. A network based design studio (Etalier) must be able to reflect the nature of learning design. Design studios typically involve specifically chosen design problems, researched supporting information to assist design decisions, focussed discussions, individual consultation and criticism, group criticism, public forums for presentation discussion and criticism as well as a myriad of informal undocumented communication among the students themselves. So too must an Etalier function. Essentially, it must allow collaboration through communication. Traditional barriers to collaboration include language, culture (both national and professional) and distance. Through the internet's capricious growth and the widespread use of English as a second language, the largest hurdle to attaining fruitful collaboration is probably cultural. In the case of an Etalier in a university setting, the cultural difficulties arise from administrative rules, the pedagogical culture of specific universities and issues such as scheduling and accreditation. Previous experiments with virtual design studios have demonstrated the criticality of such issues. The proposed system allows participating members to specify the degree and breadth with which they wish to partake. As opposed to specifying the conditions of membership, we propose to specify the conditions of partnership. Through the basic principal of reciprocity, issues such as accreditation and work load sharing can be mitigated. Further, the establishment of a studio market will allow students, tutors and professors from participating institutions to partake in studio projects of their choosing in accordance with their own constraints, be they related to schedule, expertise, legal or other matters. The paper describes these mechanisms and some possible scenarios for collaboration in the Etalier market.