Critical Analysis of the Student, Tutor and Client Perspectives in Live Project Practices: A Look at the Sheffield Live Project Model

Paper published at the Edinburgh Architectural Research Journal.

EAR is a non-profit academic journal, published annually by the research students of the Department of Architecture, The University of Edinburgh.

For over thirty years it has been an expressive vehicle of the diverse interests and contributions towards research in this Department. EAR began as an in-house collection of working papers and developed over the years into a strong peer-reviewed architectural publication of wide recognition within the international academic community. It is currently listed in the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals and Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory.

This paper is concerned with the methods and practices in architectural education and specifically with the Live Projects module at the Sheffield School of Architecture. The module asks students to work on solutions with clients, delivering architectural services while a tutor assumes a background consultant role. The paper studies the tutor-student relationship throughout the live project and its reconfiguration when the additional role of the external collaborator is considered. The tri-polar distribution of influence over the outcome of the project is the central theme through which the outputs of the project are examined.
The paper examines the ability of the module to address skill gaps both inside and outside academia via community projects varying from design and build to master planning and policy proposals. Through reviews of past projects, conclusions are drawn on successful tactics employed within the delivery of live projects. The study draws upon
interviews with participants on all sides of the project as well as reviews of outputs. The inherent tension between the competing agendas of students, clients and mentors is discussed and examples of the benefits and drawbacks of the Live Projects are presented.
The paper attempts to define characteristics of what constitutes a successfully negotiated project and the critical challenges in delivering the module. It argues for the future of this specific way of teaching architecture underpinned by ethical choice of assignments.
Keywords: Live Projects, Architectural education, Experiential
learning, Collaborative learning, Reflective practice

Full article available at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s