|M.Sc Student||Nezer Orit|
|Subject||Adaptive Reuse: The Effect of the Virtual Environment on|
the Work Process of Students in the Studio
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Dr. Dafna Fisher Gewirtzm|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Visualization Laboratory (VisLab), at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion, Israel, facilitates immersion in a virtual, digital, three-dimensional space, a new working environment and tools.
The setting of the case study for this research was the observation of a design- thematic studio course focusing on Adaptive Reuse of existing buildings. The participants in the study included 23 Architecture students in their second semester of their third and fourth years of study. This was the first time they had been exposed to the new environment and tools of the VisLab.
The main purpose of the research was to examine and describe the comprehensions and evaluations of the students regarding their design process with the integration of the VisLab into the design studio course, and in comparison to the other design tools which they were using. The research seeks to present the reader with the interpretation, the experience and the meaning in the observed setting, as described by the students. A qualitative research approach.
Data collection included taking notes, recording discussions and collecting other relevant material. At the end of the semester, in-depth one-on-one interviews with 22 students were conducted.
Data analysis was done, classifying the information into six "Families" of themes, each "family" consists of sub-themes named "Codes." The discussion concerning the families of the codes presents the reader with the experience as perceived by the students. Two layers of findings were revealed, a visible layer and a concealed layer.
An overall review of the findings led to several main suggestions and observations:
- The students attempted to control their exposure and privacy with regard to the design processes and presentation. The VisLab created levels of exposure, with which the students were unfamiliar.
- The students demonstrated familiarity and a design advantage when working on models smaller than themselves, with them having an overall out-to-in view. With the VisLab view being from the in-to-out, the students strived to return to their comfort zone.
- The ongoing verbal language, which occurs in the studio education setting along the design process, was not sufficiently nuanced for the new design education setting of the VisLab environment. A new adapted vocabulary and gestures needs to be developed for this environment.
- Merging a project of Adaptive Reuse of existing buildings in a studio course possesses many advantages for enriching architectural design education.
- Experiential learning in the VisLab did not appear to flow as a whole, dynamic and recurring process. A reflective process is only implemented later.
- The students reported the significant benefit of using a variety of tools in their design process. It would be beneficial if a future design environment integrated the use of traditional tools with new ones.
The observation of the student's design process has brought forth topics for further study, important for the future and continued integration of the VisLab into the studio design courses. Thus, this dissertation hopes to contribute to the advancement of architectural design education.