SUPERSTUDIO is a cooperation project between EPFL, ETHZ and USI Mendrisio with the goal to understand and rethink the architectural design studio.
The architectural design studio is a unique pedagogical instrument, based on the constructivist idea of « learning by building », the use of tangible mediating objects, external representations and rapid prototypes, and peer-to-peer comparisons and reviews. As such it could serve as an educational role model for other academic and professional disciplines.
Yet while the architectural design studio is a powerful pedagogical instrument, it is not well understood, and, importantly for this proposal, it is not adapted to the digital age. In contrast, technologically innovative architectural practices have undergone significant transformations in recent years, becoming global, distributed, digital and integrated. The proposed cooperation project aims at (i) studying and (ii) reinventing the studio by taking into consideration these transformations.
The proposed cooperation will analyze design studios as they are conducted today, derive basic principles, develop new concepts for the studio in light of the introduction of digital tools into practice, and culminate in experiments with a prototype studio – SUPERSTUDIO – where students, spaces and robots (prototyping facilities) from the three schools will be connected. The results will be generalized in a way that SUPERSTUDIO could serve as a pedagogical role model for other fields, especially those concerned with creative or synthetic problem-solving.
The project will benefit from the geographical and cultural diversity of the participants, and from their disciplinary complementarities (studio instructors, historians/theoretician, and computer experts). It will leverage the substantial investments already made in recent years in digital design and fabrication, including communication infrastructure and CAD/CAM prototyping at EPFL, ETHZ and USI Mendrisio.