Since the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the eighteenth century, architecture schools have developed a special way of teaching design within the studio setting. Studios are working places where students spend a significant amount of time developing their design projects with professors and other students, often creating a vibrant learning environment, a sense of community, long-term professional relationships, and lasting friendships. The creation of a positive and respectful working and learning environment has been an integral part of Wentworth’s educational model since the Institute’s founding. The Department of Architecture has been continually developing its guiding principles since 2005. Based on discussions with the studio culture committee that are ongoing and feedback from a recent survey, it is clear that Wentworth's original policy remains vibrant and relevant to students, faculty, and staff. More than a policy document, studio culture at Wentworth is a set of values shaping a productive environment within which the academic and civic growth of students and faculty occurs.
Our current Studio Culture Policy is based on four complementary aspects addressing the different elements and the types of relationships within the studio:
Studio Space and Time, Working Environment, and Time Management.The first goal of the Studio Culture Policy is to facilitate and guarantee the resources for developing:
- A flexible space for a variety of studio activities.
- A productive working atmosphere.
- Studio services, facilities, and equipment to develop studio work.
- An environment encouraging positive social and personal behavior.
- A balance of work schedules and the development of time management skils.
Student Privacy and Student-to-Student Relationships within the Studio.The second goal of Wentworth Studio Culture Policy is to foster an environment to develop:
- Student individuality and privacy.
- Opportunities for personal growth, self-cultivation, and individual learning.
- Opportunities to cultivate natural integration among students of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and outlooks.
- Teamwork and opportunities for collaboration between students of various academic levels.
- Informal activities in collaboration with student clubs.
- Student connections with other architectural schools in the region and beyond.
Student/Faculty and Students/Staff Relationships within the Studio.The third goal is to continue improving the relationship between different members of the academic community through:
- Mutual engagement in the learning process.
- Implementation of diverse methods of teaching and learning.
- The application of an open range of critical methods.
- Continuously revising the student evaluation system.
- More studio emphasis on the process and less on the final product.
- Midterm student surveys to evaluate the semester in process.
Student/Community Relationship within the Studio.The fourth goal is to define the different types of communities that surround the studio and to continue taking advantage of our academic and civic engagement in:
- Maintaining our relationship with other schools of architecture in the Boston area.
- Developing interdisciplinary projects with other departments at Wentworth and other members of the Colleges of the Fenway.
- Enhancing our relationship with the professional community.
- Partnering with a variety local neighborhood organizations to provide service while fulfilling academic requirements.
- Taking advantage of our location in Boston and around the world.
While the structure and curricular role of the studio maintains great continuity with the past, Wentworth learning culture has also evolved in significant ways from the traditional Beaux-Arts studio to an environment where the contemporary challenges of technology and the dynamic changes in human relationships make the studio an open, transparent laboratory to develop experiments for contemporary problems.