“Hybrid Ways of Doing: a Model for Teaching Public Space” by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and Elliott Maltby, published in the International Journal of Architectural Research, addresses an exploratory practice undertaken by the authors in a co-taught class to hybridize theory, research and practice.
This experiment in critical transdisciplinary design education took the form of a “critical studio + practice-based seminar on public space”, two interlinked classes co-taught by landscape architect Maltby and environmental psychologist Bendiner-Viani at Parsons The New School for Design. This design process was grounded in the political and social context of the contested East River waterfront of New York City and valued both intensive study (using a range of social science and design methods) and a partnership with a local community organization, engaging with the politics, issues and human needs of a complex site.
The paper considers how we encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue between teachers as well as between liberal arts and design students and developed strategies to overcome preconceived notions of traditional “studio” and “seminar” work. By exploring the challenges and adjustments made during the semester and the process of teaching this class, this paper addresses how we moved from a model of intertwining theory, research and practice, to a hybrid model of multiple ways of doing, a model particularly apt for teaching public space. Through examples developed for and during our course, the paper suggests practical ways of supporting this transdisciplinary hybrid model.
You can download the article at right, from the International Journal of Architectural Research’s special issue on “Design Education: Explorations and Prospects for a Better Built Environment”, edited by Ashraf M. Salama and Michael J. Crosbie.
Bendiner-Viani G. and E. Maltby (2010) “Hybrid Ways of Doing: a Model for Teaching Public Space”. IJAR. 4:2-3, pp 407-418.