Wiki Design Studio - Part One
by Kevin Matthews and David Owen
While the most common type of page in the Archiplanet all-buildings wiki presents an individual building, the huge flexibility of the wiki structure provides for support for almost any kind of documentation especially if it involves groupwork and this particularly includes the architecture school design studio.
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Conceptually, creating a design studio wiki in Archiplanet is as simple as creating a main page for the studio, followed by as many other pages as desired for items like precedent studies, the design program, live site map, and the various student design projects and then linking these together, wiki-style.
This concept applies to most any architectural or otherwise-appropriate wiki site. Some schools will prefer to use their own internal wiki to support design studios.
A benefit of using the Archiplanet wiki is participation in a wider design community. Material of wider interest, such as precedent studies, is readily linked into the great evolving community-created collection. Much as Wikipedia compends millions of encyclopedia articles, Archiplanet brings together information and knowledge on something approaching 100,000 buildings already, and counting, with some 40 million page views to date.
Before we delve into a comprehensive approach to setting up wiki support for a design studio, there's an even simpler approach. This might be most appropriate when the use of the wiki is aimed at one specific component of the studio, like a set of precedent studies.
Such a set of case studies can be created, shared, grouped, reviewed, and referred to as ongoing references in the wiki with just two moves: 1) create a building page for each building example, and 2) tie them together with a category page.
First, the documentation for each particular precedent building being studied can be created readily and evolved using the established format of the building page (which also applies, with only minor variations, to other scales of project, like an urban plaza or a block development).
The process of creating and filling in a multifaceted building page is spelled out in our article Wiki Case Study Part One.
Then, once each building page is created, even while the individual or team responsible for it is still developing it, decide on a name for a wiki category to connect together all the pages in the set. Add a basic category link, looking something like this:
[[Category:Precedent Studies for Arch327, Spring 2007, Smith]]
to the bottom of each case study page. To recall from Wiki Case Study Part One, we use double square brackets around the page name to mark an internal link within the wiki in this case, to the Category page.
When you click on that link, you go to the category page, where all the pages with that category link are listed. And there you have it, a collection of precedent studies, at the simplest level.
The same basic approach - create a set of pages, and tie them together with a category page specific to the course or project - can be used easily for other individual dimentions of a studio's group work, from collecting site and context information, to development of the architectural progam, or even individual design project outcomes.
Now let's take a look at a more comprehensive approach.
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Kevin Matthews and David Owen are editors of ArchitectureWeek.