Evaluating the Physical Environment of Design Studios: A Case study in Malaysian Private Architecture Schools


  • Shanthi Muniandy Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Tareef Hayat Khan Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Abdullah Sani Ahmad Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia




Understanding the notion of learner’s experiences in the design of physical environment of an architecture design studio is a necessity as it contains certain values of influence. It is due to the unique learning experiences which are accrued particularly in design studio that is continued during professional practice as well. Most architectural campuses in Malaysian Private Higher Education Institutions (MPHEI) are devoid of certain important elements and this issue needs to be looked into seriously. Apparently, most architectural design studios today have different physical settings, and have developed their own learning culture based on the typical space that they have. Reviewing the physical environment and how it contributes to the social environ-ment in MPHEI’s architectural context requires certain understanding on the learner’s psycho-logical needs, expectations and in the same time to meet the educational objective which is never an easy task. Hence, this paper reviewed the studies of the possible physical environment approaches in connecting the learner’s connections in architecture studio learning environ-ment. A questionnaire survey with Likert-scale components, and semi-structured interview on learners of five distinguished Private Architectural schools in Malaysia unveiled several signifi-cant findings that can lead entrepreneurs to upgrade the physical environment of these MPHEIs in order to cope with the demands of the stakeholders.


Abdullah, N.A.G., Beh, S.C., Tahir, M.M., Che Ani, A.I., and Tawil, N.M. (2011). Architecture design studio culture and learning spaces : a holistic approach to the design and planning of learning facilities. Procedia Social and Behavior Sciences, 15:27-32.

Fraser, B. J. (Undated), Learning Environment Research: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

Brandt, C. B., Cennamo, K., Douglas, S., Vernon, M., McGrath, M., and Reimer, Y. (2011). A theoretical framework for the studio as a learning environment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, Vol. 23(2): 329-348.

Gislason, N. (2010). Architectural design and the learning environment: A framework for school research. Journal of Learning Environment, Vol. 13(2): 127-145.

Obeidat, A., and Al-Share, R. (2012). Quality Learning Environment: Design-Studio Classroom, Asian Culture and History, Vol. 4(2): 165-174.

Padlee, S. F., Kamaruddin, A. R. Baharun, R. (2010). International students’ choice behavior for higher education at Malaysian private universities. International Journal of Marketing Studies, Vol. 2(2): 202-211

Tanner, C. K. (2000). The influence of school architecture on academic achievement’, Journal of Educational Administration. Vol. 38(4): 309-330.

Tanner, C. K., and McMicheal, C. (2005). Perspectives of School Facility Design Held by Planners, Architects and Educators, Paper presented at the annual conference of the Council of educational Facility Planners, International, San Antonio, Texas (September 29-30; October 1-3, 2005)

Tanner, C. K. (2008). Explaining Relationships among Student Outcomes and the School’s Physical Environment, Journal of Advanced Academics, Vol. 19: 444-471

Tanner, C. K. (2009). Effects of school design on student outcomes, Journal of education administration, Vol. 47(3): 381-399

Tumusiime, H. (2013). Learning in architecture: Students’ perceptions of the architecture studio. 1st International Conference on Architectural Education (AAE 2013), Nottingham Trent University, UK, April 4-5, 2013.

Uluoǧ lu, B. (2000). Design knowledge communicated in studio critiques. Design Studies, Vol. 21(1): 33–58.

Upitis, R. (2009). Complexity and Design: How School Architecture Influences Learning”, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal. Vol. 3(2): 121-134.

Zimring, C., Khan, S., Craig, D., Haq, S., and Guzdial, M. (2001). CoOL Studio: using simple tools to expand the discursive space of the design studio. Automation in Construction, Vol. 10(6): 675–685.