Studio Culture as Competency

From Pedagogy to Publics


  • Samuel Tan Yi-Ern
  • Lilian Chee



Architecture studio, Pedagogy, Cultural Transmission, Sociality, Publics


The teaching of design, the act of design itself, and its competencies are always conceived as a mystery—knowable to a certain extent yet unknowable in its totality. In studies of how design knowledge is transferred in the studio, the focus typically centers around a determinate and quantifiable pedagogical exchange between student and tutor, consistent with its etymological roots in paidagogia, suggestive of instruction akin to the teaching of a child. Yet, we witness other kinds of exchanges and social formations in the studio that expand beyond the student-tutor exchange, more akin to the cultural transmission of a distinct set of codes, behaviors, norms, and organizations autonomous from pedagogical structures. In this paper, we shift the conversation from one solely centered around pedagogy to an orbit of the architecture studio’s culture, whose social making, we argue, produces the public body of the architecture community and is itself the competency acquired in the architecture studio.