SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

In 2008 the University of Melbourne began implementation of the Melbourne Model, its new vision for higher education in Australia. Six broad undergraduate university degrees have been introduced and graduate schools created. Students may now progress from an undergraduate generalist degree, with major, to a professional Masters. Alternatively, graduate lateral entry is available for students to pursue a professional qualification without prior preparation. This acceleration has significant implications for design studio teaching. Students with no design background but with an undergraduate degree are now able to study architecture or landscape architecture in just three years, compared to the previous four-to six-year undergraduate degrees.

This article reviews and analyses the outcomes of an ‘accretive’ design studio (Christie 2002) devised for beginning Masters students which attempts to translate a new mandate of ‘acceleration’ into design pedagogy. Analysis of student focus groups, together with the work produced, revealed not only the value of the accretive model in delivering a cohesive understanding of the design process and a student engagement that exceeds the outcomes of traditional design studio but also highlights the value of an immediate immersion into a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). We argue that immersion, as distinct from conventional educational models which position education as ‘training’ for a future participation in a discipline, is central to any acceleration model, serving to position students as active definers of the discipline rather than passive observers and thereby increasing ownership of their learning experience.