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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

With the announcement of the switch to online learning platforms at the University of Washington beginning Monday, March 9 2020, the Department of Architecture, like all units in the university, has had to make immediate adjustments to our teaching. While the options for most classes have been relatively simple, essentially moving all teaching to Zoom as well as using Panopto through our online Canvas platform, our design studios have presented some unique challenges. In addition, we are entering the final week of our academic quarter, which had made our response all the more important.

One thing to note is that although we can have no face-to-face meetings with students, all of our buildings and facilities remain open. This means that students can, if they choose, continue to work in their studio spaces as they complete their projects this quarter. The UW has also purchased an enterprise license for Zoom so that all students and faculty have access to this platform from their laptop computers. In short, we are all becoming Zoom experts!


As a result of our current circumstances, desk critiques have become Zoom meetings, with faculty setting up regular studio hours (MWF, 1:30-5:30 pm) and students Zooming in for input. Please check out the following UW News story and video of Professor Rick Mohler, who is teaching a research studio this quarter along with Brad Khouri of b9 architects in Seattle. The studio is investigating the issue of housing density and equity, where students are formed into groups that collaborate on research-based design projects in a specific neighborhood in Seattle. You can read the story and see the video HERE.


Our final reviews will be handled in a variety of ways, but one of the suggested platforms is for the studio instructors and critics to use a UW room with a video screen and for the students to Zoom in for their scheduled final review. The reviews will be next week, beginning March 16, so we will post something about this then.

We hope that this is useful to others thinking about similar plans. Feel free to reach out with questions!


Brian McLaren
Associate Professor and Chair