Shutting the studio: the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on architectural education in the United Kingdom

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The Covid-19 pandemic instigated a rapid shift to remote learning in schools of architecture in the United Kingdom. Through the largest survey of its kind of architectural students and tutors in the UK, this research compares experiences in the physical design studio and its remote equivalent. The context of the pandemic provided a unique opportunity to survey a range of cohorts, at different stages in their architectural education to compare these two modes of studio delivery. The findings show a fall in student satisfaction after the move to remote learning in every metric assessed. Peer interaction and support were particularly effected. More formal teaching interactions, such as reviews, crits and tutorials, also suffered but to a lesser extent. For teaching staff, some small improvements in the working environment were observed as well as organisational factors. However, these small gains were outweighed by the negative changes. The research suggests that despite the replication of teaching activities digitally, the situated learning of design education and the facilitation of informal learning scenarios are critical components of design education. This research contributes to the ongoing characterisation of architectural education’s signature pedagogy and suggests that for effective remote learning, design studio education must be reconceptualised, and alternative pedagogies embraced. This can direct educators looking to develop remote design studio learning as well as highlighting areas in which the traditional model of architectural education may be enhanced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173–1197
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Early online date29 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

No funders were acknowledged.


  • Architectural education
  • Design studio
  • Remote learning Covid-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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