Calgary is Canada’s most enterprising city. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Canada; rapidly emerging, nationally and internationally, as an influential political, financial, and cultural centre. With a young, multinational, professional, and highly-educated population, Calgary is a living laboratory for exploring innovation in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning within the context of unprecedented natural landscapes.
Our faculty members represent a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds including award-winning teachers, practitioners, and researchers. Collectively, we provide a distinct interdisciplinary approach, well-suited to practice in a complex world. The recent University-wide, multi-million-dollar investment facilitating the creation of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking builds on the University of Calgary’s community-based research strengths to foster the ideal context for interdisciplinary collaboration typical of our disciplines.
Design is described as a process of making decisions based on reflection in and on action (Schön, 1983). This report outlines the findings of the Design Studio Matrix: Supporting the Decision-Making Process as Part of a Reflective Practice research project, and provides recommendations for both future research and teaching. The Design Studio Matrix was funded by the grants program of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary. The principal grant holder was Dr. Fabian Neuhaus, Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Calgary. The project was carried out at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Calgary, with a focus on three Masters design studio courses: the EVDS 620 Urban Design Studio/EVDA 782.01 Senior Architecture Design Studio course in fall 2019, the EVDP 644 B02 Advanced Professional Planning Studio course in winter 2020 and the EVDP 616 Planning course in fall 2020. The project ran for two years, from spring 2019 to Spring 2021. Its aim was to analyze design studio pedagogy and to further develop the Design Studio Matrix (DSM), a teaching and learning tool that was developed by Dr. Graham Livesey, Dr. Enrica Dall’Ara and Dr. Fabian Neuhaus. The hypothesis was that the DSM would help shift the focus of design education away from the product towards the process and the reflection thereof. The research was led by Sandra Abegglen and adopted a mixed or multi method approach consisting of focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, in-class observations and questionnaires. In addition, material created by the students such as diagrams and survey data were analyzed. Ethical approval for the research was sought and granted by the University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Ethics Board in August 2019. A total of 100 students have worked with the DSM to date. Of those, 53 students were registered for one of the courses included in this study, with 38 students fully participating in the research and 3 students partially participating. Participation in the research project was voluntary, with students being able to opt in or out of all, or particular research elements.