Community Engagement and Live Projects within Architectural Education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Live Projects are used on the Architecture Programme at Northumbria University to create authentic learning experiences; encouraging social interaction and community engagement to the design process from the early years of undergraduate through to final year post graduate Masters students.

Design projects set on the architecture programmes at Northumbria University are grounded in specific contexts which can be visited and revisited by the students. Architectural solutions are developed through appropriate narratives which address real and current socio-political situations for the site and the community. The proposed presentation discusses the impact of live projects and community engagement in architectural education; based upon the authors research and first-hand experience.

Through a series of illustrated case studies, this presentation describes how studio project briefs have evolved in collaboration with The National Trust and Northumberland Park across a number of cohorts. This has created an implicit resource for the programmes, with a deeper understanding of the client, other stakeholders and the wider communities developed over a number of years. This benefits both the quality of the students’ experience; creating a special type of pedagogical learning experience and contributes to evolving projects and engagement for the client organisations.

The students’ projects have shadowed live design competitions and, subsequently, schemes being developed by architectural practices, who have presented their work-in-progress and participated in reviews of the students’ work. This has enhanced the students’ understanding of the design process in relation to practice experience and enabled them to develop an awareness of the social skills necessary in professional practice.

The presentation will conclude with a reflection on how ‘people focussed architecture’, regional engagement and the nature in which problem based learning reflects the way people learn in real life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
EventThe Annual Conference of the Council of Heads of the Built Environment: Inspiring the Learner Journey - University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20154 Sept 2015


ConferenceThe Annual Conference of the Council of Heads of the Built Environment
Abbreviated titleCHOBE '15
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Community Engagement and Live Projects within Architectural Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this