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Introduction to Architectural Structures: Lessons Learned from Parti Pris Pedagogy

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Structural Education Topics in Architectural Engineering

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Page Count


Page Numbers

24.815.1 - 24.815.15



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Paper Authors


Keith E. Hedges Drury University

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Keith Hedges is an assistant professor of architecture and teaches the architectural structures sequence at Drury University. Keith’s teaching repertoire includes 17 different courses of engineering topics at NAAB (architecture) and architecture topics at ABET (engineering) accredited institutions. His interests involve the disciplinary knowledge gap between architecture and engineering students in higher education.

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Introduction to Architectural Structures: Lessons Learned from a Reverse Parti Pris PedagogyThe academy recognizes mathematics as the primary challenge confronting architecturalstructures educators in the liberal arts environments. Although there is considerable polaritybetween architectural and engineering discourse in structures pedagogy, the germaneness ofmathematics is not the fundamental problem. The psychology of how we learn has changed.Structures education is frequently modeled in an explicit bottoms-up approach through thegradual accrual of prerequisite knowledge. However, this is consistent with how we learn underthe older associationist-behaviorist paradigm, rather than the newer cognitive paradigm.Scientific psychologists recognize that the schemata of the learner are more important than theprerequisite knowledge. The cognitive paradigm suggests that explicit information precedes thediscovery of implicit knowledge in a top-down approach. This is in harmony with the lifeexperiences inside the dominant studio culture, whereby the parti pris is borne prior to theformalized solution. A need exists to explore a pedagogy that commences with the central idea ofarchitectural structures.This paper outlines a new approach for a structures pedagogy that reverses the content sequencein an introductory architectural structures course at a private liberal arts institution. A participantobservation study was performed in the narrative tradition to document thirty second-yeararchitecture students studying in either an associationist-behaviorist sequential course contentsequence or a cognitive reverse content parti pris sequence. The findings indicate that thereverse pedagogy induces higher scores in each exam, has a greater capacity to integrate thebroader structural concepts in affiliated design studio outcomes, and that the student evaluationswere significantly higher. The educational lessons learned are provided in the form of reflectionsin the areas of course instruction, content, and student outcomes.

Hedges, K. E. (2014, June), Introduction to Architectural Structures: Lessons Learned from Parti Pris Pedagogy Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20707

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