Mark Southcombe
Andrew Charleson


This paper records and reflects on two architecture design studios situated between academic and professional practice contexts. It is motivated by the level of both student and external engagement generated by the studios, which occurred at a significantly higher level than that generated by similar studios that regularly run at VUW School of Architecture and other schools of architecture. The objective is to retrospectively understand the unique or special aspects of these studios for future reference.
As a working method, the Cuba Street studios are first described in terms of the motivation, the context, the community engagement set up, their brief and their modus operandi. Outcomes of the studios are then evaluated through our observations and critical reflection on the ways engagement between University and professional practices occurred, and how these interactions affected the student learning and external engagement. Reference is made to the relevant literature, the critical intents of the studios, the immediacy of both the proximity and the seriousness of the motivating problem, the inputs of external bodies, and the detail of the student outcomes in terms of both expectations, and the nature of the outcomes.  
The paper argues that clarity about characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of academic practices, can augment the potential effectiveness of future architecture design teaching associated with professional engagement, and that the collective framing of student research-led design can deliver research outcomes with a significance greater than the sum of their parts.


How to Cite
Southcombe, M. and Charleson, A. (2017) “University praxis. On exchange between professional and academic practices in architectural education”, The Journal of Public Space, 2(3), pp. 157–166. doi: 10.5204/jps.v2i3.124.
Chapter III
Author Biographies

Mark Southcombe, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture

Mark Southcombe is an architect who studied in Auckland and Wellington New Zealand. He is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture, and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. He is currently teaching architecture design, research methodologies, and is supervising master’s research. He is also a design practitioner principal of Southcombe Architects based in Wellington. Marks research is focused on design led research practices and their application across several fields including architectural fabrication and prefabrication, seismic resilience and medium density housing.

Andrew Charleson, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture

Andrew Charleson is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington.  He teaches and researches in the field of architectural structures. Andrew has authored two books, "Structure as Architecture: a source book for architects and structural engineers", 2nd ed. in 2015; and in 2008, "Seismic Design for Architects: Outwitting the Quake". He also co-authored "Seismic Isolation for Architects", published in 2017.