‘Stuckness’ in the design studio

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This paper focuses on predicaments that many students experience in the architecture design studio: situations in which they are stuck. ‘Stuckness’ is discussed through examples based on data collected in a study conducted in 1997. In the investigation, students, faculty and recent graduates of MIT and the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology were interviewed about their perception of ‘stuckness’. Following this survey, an in situ examination of two studios was conducted, in which ‘stuckness’ situations were carefully observed and analyzed, using a structured inquiry developed for this study. In these situations students were found to behave in a few typical ways, among them being at a standstill, procrastination and fixation, behaviour that affects their design process so that it falters or even stops. It was found that each of these situations was a complex event that could be considered from different aspects each of which could be seen to cause the situation. These aspects include, among others, the design project and the difficulties it presents to the designer, the design process, which is in most cases new to the student, requirements of the studio other than the completion of the design and the intervention of the studio instructor.

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