top of page


Associate Professor Francesco Mancini wins AASA Digital Learning Research Grant 2020!

Monday, May 4, 2020

The AASA has received a total of five high-quality proposals from members for 2020 Digital Learning Research Grant. We are pleased to announce the winner is…

“Digital Urban Lab” by Associate Professor Francesco Mancini, School of Design and the Built Environment, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University.

This research project builds on a collaborative design process in line with the implementation of the Design State Review Panel in Western Australia and partnership with Hassell and collaboration with Element, COX, the OGA WA and the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage. This pedagogic project was successfully tested in the Master of Architecture in 2019 at Curtin University.

Project rationale:

Digital technology played an important role in the previous face-to-face edition of Urban Design Research Studio and Methods units. With this in mind, in response to an innovative approach to Blended Design Studio, we propose to transfer this model on a blended platform and invite interstate students and academics to remotely participate in these units through distributed studio sessions and multidisciplinary design review panels.

Collaboration and experiential learning in a blended environment are the key concepts underpinning this L&T project. The aim is to facilitate learning through discovery in an augmented learning environment that simulates emerging future practices.

Team members will operate like an international office based in multiple locations, with the headquarter located in Perth, nearby the site. Collaboration with individual responsibility is at the base of teamwork. Roles, leadership, research, and design activities will be captured and documented through the WEBEX TEAMS platform, which will record processes and contributions throughout the project.

Collaboration is also key to the design review panel framework. Students and guest critics from Industry and Academia will refine the projects before the official submission constructively.

Juror #1 comment:

“[The project aims] to deliver an online course to multiple stakeholders from all over the country and utilise digital tools as part of the design process. The course delivery through utilising various online tools and methods, each unique in its own way to support a specific aspect of the studio, is very relevant considering the current COVID-19 situation. Today, many schools have transitioned to online learning and, therefore, can benefit from the logistics being used in delivering the proposed course.”

“Opening the studio to students from any academic institution in Australia provides a significant opportunity for collaborative work.”

Juror #2 comment:

“This project promises to make a meaningful contribution to the scholarship of learning and teaching by promoting collaborative, experiential and discovery learning pedagogy in blended and online learning of architecture and urban design. As a result of the educational prominence of group work and collaboration, urban design is a challenging subject area to learn and teach online. Through this project, a blended and online methodology that engages inter-school team members based in multiple interstate locations, in remote studios and multidisciplinary design reviews will be developed to simulate emerging practices in the industry – like an international office. “

“Innovative use of digital technologies both for online and remote collaboration (WEBEX TEAMS, SOLSTICE, EPINUP and BLACKBOARD) as well as digital production (ARCGIS, Space Syntax, and Rhino/ Grasshopper) will be employed in this project. The expected impact is very high, considering that it involves academia, industry and government sectors. Furthermore, it engages academics and students from various participating Australian Schools of Architecture, guest critics from industry and academia (not limited by proximity). It means that the blended and cloud-based methodology of a remote and distributed studio and reviews can be developed through inputs by a range of participants (including academia, industry and government) who may, in turn, implement it in their own respective contexts. This project paves the way for possible future collaboration between schools of architecture, to optimise resources, share expertise, and to achieve authentic learning student experiences.”

Congratulations to Associate Professor Francesco Mancini and his team on winning the AASA Digital Learning Research Grant 2020!

bottom of page