Is there still value in teaching multidisciplinary basic design studios based on experimentation with materials?

Milica Muminović and Carlos Alberto Montana-Hoyos (UC)
2017 Conference

There is a constant pressure at the universities to teach more efficiently, reducing the length of study and producing ready to work graduates. In design courses around Australia there are also constant changes towards increasing the digitalisation and reducing the hours of studio teaching, while graduating students are expected to gain competences to work in their respective discipline. Specialisation represents an important aspect of the teaching curriculum. On the other hand, within the design profession, there is also a need for flexibility and collaboration. Design graduates are expected to constantly adapt their work in their professional life. Traditional art, architecture and design disciplines as we know them are being transformed, and our professions need to be able to adjust to all those fast changes. So how do we approach skill-based, specialised teaching having in mind the demand for flexible and unknown futures? Is there a still value in teaching multidisciplinary basic design studios?

This paper discusses multidisciplinary basic design courses, looking at pros and cons of specialisation and multidisciplinarity. We reflect on the history of basic design courses and use as case study a basic design unit we have developed at the University of Canberra, which includes architecture, industrial design, interior architecture and landscape architecture.


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About the author

Milica Muminović (PhD) Assistant Professor, Architecture, Faculty of Arts and Design, Discipline of Built Environment and Design, University of Canberra

Phone: +61 (02) 6201 2250,



Milica Muminović is an architect and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Architecture, University ofCanberra. She has held the position of teaching assistant at Faculty of Architecture, University of Novi Pazar, Serbia, of research assistant at Global COE Program and of teaching assistant at Keio University in Japan. Dr Muminović was part of the team, which developed the winning design for the ‘Next Generation Sustainable House’ in Japan. Her present research extends the professional experience through studies about analyses of complex qualities of urban: place, spaces in between architecture and urban design within cross-cultural and multidisciplinary approach.



A/Prof. Carlos Alberto Montana-Hoyos (PhD), Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, Discipline of Built Environment and Design, University of Canberra

Phone: +61 (0)2 6201 2593



A/Prof. Carlos Alberto Montana-Hoyos (PhD) is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design (ID) in the University of Canberra since 2010. He has developed award-winning, multidisciplinary design projects while living in Colombia, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Australia. As an academic, Carlos was Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Product Design Engineering course of EAFIT University in Colombia (2001-2003). He was also a Fellow and Assistant Professor in the ID Program of the National University of Singapore (2006-2010). His research interests are on multidisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to design, and include topics as Design for Health and Sports, Biomimicry and Design for Sustainability.