Architectural artisanship skills development strategies implemented through architectural design studio projects focused on process



Architecture & Built Environment


  • architectural artisanship, design studio, design process, skills development


Design education is an integral part of the architectural student’s journey. Traditionally, in the undergraduate course, emphasis is placed on the skills development of conceptual sketching, model making, storytelling, and various communications of the concept and design processes. However, these skills are often seen as separate parts and taught as such without always utilising the opportunities to integrate these various aspects and parts into a holistic process. Architectural artisanship is a vital part of design acumen and must be seen as a skill that facilitates the design process rather than a separate entity.

For the 2022 Architectural Design III module, Bachelor of Architecture degree third-year of study, at the Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, the project briefs are conceptualised to emphasise developing the artisanship required for architectural design. This is done through mandatory design process work presentations towards successfully addressing the outcomes of project briefs. Student outputs provide the data analysed to present the findings of this paper.

The findings presented indicate a noteworthy improvement in the design process of the students. As a response to various design generators and variables, the architectural process is a nuanced journey with many feedback loops and development stages with multiple design iterations. The final design proposals improved as a result of students' use of process tools such as conceptual drawing, model making, storytelling, and other techniques of communicating the process.

This paper presents an outline of these processes and a critical appraisal of what worked more effectively or less effectively. The findings are significant and as such research documented and presented becomes a benchmark for further development of undergraduate design courses for architectural learning sites

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (