Key Concepts

Of its place, of its time, of its patrons (purpose) - Dana Taylor
  • Composition
  • Context (Complement, contrast)
  • Consistency
  • Energy/Flow
  • Evoke Emotion
  • Flexibility
  • Fit
  • Form/Function
  • Perspective
  • Scale (Ancient, modern, natural)
  • Sustainability
  • Symmetry


"Architecture . . . is about configuring spaces that both anticipate and direct activity. Residents of an architectural space adapt their activities to fit the space, and adapt the space to fit their activities--the relation is always both ways, and it is in this reciprocal adaptation that a space becomes a place. The 'architecture' is not only the initial design or building, but also the transformation of it over time. In this sense, people always help build the buildings they occupy, and the buildings are not fully finished until they have been used for awhile" (Burbules & Callister, 2001, p. 162).

Burbules, Nicholas C., & Callister Jr., Thomas A. (2000). Watch IT: The risks and promises of information technologies for education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-9082-6

Shifting Perspectives

(By Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones)



(The text of the PowerPoint presentation appears below - I'll eventually post it as a slideshow)
  • I began with the question: How might teachers design physical, emotional, and virtual spaces that would support meaningful learning experiences for students?
  • But, I forgot that . . .
  • ". . . a way of seeing . . . is also a way of not seeing" (Eisner, 2002, p. 85).
  • If teachers were architects . . . [images]
  • . . . but if architects were teachers . . . [images]
  • If teachers were architects, they might ask: How do we design an experience that will fit in the space?
  • But if architects were teachers . . .: How do we design a space that will make room for the experience?
  • If teachers were architects . . . concern for the task would design the curriculum.
  • But if architects were teachers . . . concern for perspective would be paramount.
  • If teachers were architects, they would ask students to read in order to understand reality.
  • But if architects were teachers, "Everything we'd read would be translated as best we could into some reality" (Feynman, p. 3)
  • If teachers were architects . . . : How can we make it meaningful?
  • But if architects were teachers . . .: Why should it matter to students?
  • I ended with the question, How can I be more like an architect?


Anabelen. (2006, August 22). Guggenheim Bilbao (Photo #598643). Stock.xchg Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Chris245. (2004, December 29). Stata Center 01 (Photo #233245). Stock.xchng. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Eisner, Elliot W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09523-6.

Feynman, Richard Phillips. (1999). The pleasure of finding things out: The short works of Richard P. Feynman. Da Capo Press.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 25, 2006, from

Marxbro. (2006, July 15). Guggenheim under clouds b. (Photo #567216). Stock.xchng. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Montgomery, Cherice. (2006, April). Technology Classrooms. Photos taken in Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Ninci. (2007, October 8). La pedrera (Photo #885348). Stock.xchg Retrieved December 8, 2007, from



Discourse Architecture & New Public Spaces - An introduction to the research of the Social Technologies group at Berkley - chericem1 chericem1

(2010). Eleven principles for creating great community places - chericem1 chericem1

Ferdig, Richard E., Mishra, Punya, & Zhao, Yong. (2004). Component architectures and web-based learning environments. Journal of interactive learning research, 15(1), 75-90. - chericem1 chericem1

Hunter, Moira. Immersive architecture and design: Weaving authentic content, professional practice, 3-D virtual worlds, and language learning in higher education.
Proceedings of EDULEARN12 Conference. 2nd-4th July 2012, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 3851-3860. Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

Mejias, Ulises Ali. (2007, May 4). Networked proximity: ICTs and the mediation of nearness. Ideant. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from - Dissertation discusses the ways in which the architectural possibilities new technologies make available are affecting social relations: "physical proximity is replaced by informational availability as the basis for experiencing social nearness." - chericem1 chericem1

Seely-Brown, John. (2001). Storytelling: Scientist's perspective: John Seely-Brown. Storytelling: Passport to the 21st century. Retrieved February 13, 2007, from - This brief article uses the metaphor of an architect's studio to detail the implications that the social aspects of knowledge have for teaching and learning. - chericem1 chericem1

Segrest, Robert. (1991, November). Design and the pedagogical text (excess baggage). Journal of Architectural Education, 45(1), pp. 11-14. -
Uses architectural design as a tool for understanding pedagogy and the status of teaching within the culture of a research-focused institution. The 3rd page (p. 13) is particularly useful. Some classroom teachers may find this a bit esoteric due to its heavy reliance on allusions to classical texts, educational philosophies, and theories. - chericem1 chericem1

(2010). Ten tips for taking great photos of public spaces

Thomas, Suzanne, & Knowles, J. Gary. (2002, Fall). Through the camera lens: Students focused on place in schools.
Journal of Critical Inquiry Into Curriculum and Instruction, 4(3), pp. 7-14. - A phenomenal article that uses digital photography, student poetry, and qualitative research methodology to explore how students experience places in their school environments. This article would serve as a wonderful model for other student projects. - chericem1 chericem1

(2010). What is placemaking?

(2010). Why public spaces fail - Outlines key reasons

Lines, words, pictures, & sounds


Architecture & Design Facebook Page

Carlson Visual - Portfolio of a student who does digital rendering for architectural firms (click on the Rendering link)

Designing the Ideal Middle School Classrooms - A project-based learning assignment in which students create models of ideal middle school classrooms

International Ice Festival in Harbi, China

MIT Portfolios - Web portfolios of architecture students at MIT

My House Feels So Boring After Seeing These 33 Awesome Things

31 Insanely Clever Remodeling Ideas for Your Home

Union Station Centennial Experience

Union Station Centennial Experience from Quixotic on Vimeo.


El estudiante de arquitectura a través de 15 tiras cómicas, por Tristán Comics


Campus Architecture - A great comic re: the psychology of architectural design at institutions of higher learning - chericem1 chericem1

ISB ES Hub - Flickr photoset that depicts an amazing learning space in Bangkok (Courtesy of Leigh Wolf) - chericem1 chericem1

Metro Makeovers for the Abandoned Stations of Paris - Some interesting concept work on the topic - chericem1 chericem1

Open Architecture Network - Submissions from a learning spaces contest that was judged in terms of feasibility, sustainability, innovation in learning, and overall design. Photos are searchable by building types, contest key words, country, and theme - chericem1 chericem1

Ray & Maria Stata Center images - Numerous color photos of the inside and the outside of the Stata Center at MIT, designed by Frank Gehry. - chericem1 chericem1

Interactive Experiences

Building Big - Interactive labs allow students to learn about key principles in architecture - chericem1 chericem1

Gliffy - Create and share diagrams online - chericem1 chericem1

Google Sketchup - Allows you to create buildings and other models in a flash - chericem1 chericem1

Papercraft - Printable 3D buildings of famous places from around the world - chericem1 chericem1

The Room Arranger - Drag and drop furniture is great for envisioning the possibilities of different classroom layouts - chericem1 chericem1

Lesson Plans

Ideas for a Thematic (or PBLL) Unit on Architecture



Learning Environments/Spaces

    PowerPoints & Other Visual Representations

    Architecture in Education - Ideas for integrating architecture & design into education - chericem1 chericem1

    Educause. (2007). Student life & student technologies: Forecasting the impact on your facilities - A great ppt (in PDF) that shows trends in the ways emerging technologies are likely to influence student life, and the changes that demands in the way we think about the design of facilities. - chericem1 chericem1

    Magnoli, Gian Carlo, Leonardo Amerigo Bonanni, Rania Khalaf, & Michael Fox. (2001, September 12). Designing a DNA for a resopnsive architecture: A new built environment for social sustainability . Urbanism Versus Urbanization in Asia: Sustainable Development Through Smart Growth. Retrieved December 18, 2006, from Now available: - A really interesting PowerPoint presentation that outlines suggestions for applying principles of biological architecture to the practice of designing socially sustainable environments. As you view it, consider how the principles might be applied to education. - chericem1 chericem1

    (2003). What makes a successful place? - An interesting graphic organizer that depicts some of the major elements of popular places, lists their primary characteristics, and identifies common techniques for measuring each attribute. - chericem1 chericem1


    Arch'It - E-zine on architecture in Italian - chericem1 chericem1

    Architect Design Studio - Design your own buildings

    Architecture 2030 - Webcasts from the "Teach In" held for architects and design studios to encourage them to focus on environmentally sustainable, energy efficient designs in their firms and schools - chericem1 chericem1

    DesignShare - A consulting firm specializing in issues of school design. Site includes some potentially useful links for thinking about learning environments - chericem1 chericem1

    Learning Spaces Design Constituent Group - Links to the Educause listserv on learning space design plus other resources - chericem1 chericem1

    Next Stop Design - "An experiment in crowdsourcing" to design better bus stops as a means of increasing people's use of public transportation - chericem1 chericem1



    Cameron Sinclair (TED Talks) - Describes the ways a community of architects focused on advocacy, instigation, and implementation to create social change. What if WE were to give kids the tools to "rebuild" schools as they explore issues of "governance and creating communities through complex networks?" - chericem1 chericem1

    Frank Gehry: From 1990, defending a vision for architecture (TED Talks) - Entertaining video in which Frank Gehry takes the audience through a series of slides of his work and describes his thinking behind much of his work.

    Thom Mayne: Architecture is a New Way to Connect to the World - Describes the circuitous process of architectural design as a means of synthesizing the world as it exists in social contexts. Talks of multiple complexities, randomness, multiplicity of systems, dynamic relationships between systems as a way of creating architecture, the impact of public v. private innovation, - chericem1 chericem1