International Journal of Art & Design Education

Designing a Utopia: An Architectural Studio Experience on David Harvey’s Edilia

Volume 27.2   2008



The design of a utopia was devised as a studio project in order to bring critical thinking into the design studio and to stimulate creativity. By suggesting a utopia, the pedagogical aim was to improve progressive thinking and critical thought in the design education of architectural students –and also future architects. From this perspective, the utopia called Edilia, from the book Spaces of Hope by the critical geographer David Harvey, was taken as a basis for the students to design a utopic environment. In addition to Harvey’s book, students were not only challenged by the idea of an alternative society but also by the idea of a different space. Utopia, as an inter-disiplinary subject, brought various issues and different perspectives into the design studio such as public and private realms, everyday life, work, leisure, nature, technology and sustainability. With the help of the concept of utopia, a theoretically-informed design studio enabled students to criticise the existing world, dream about an alternative one and make the design of their dreams in a creative way.