Studio Culture Policy | School of Architecture | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Studio Culture Policy – School of Architecture


The students, staff and faculty of the Architecture School at Southern Illinois University Carbondale share the responsibility of possessing and preserving this policy. The SIU “Student Conduct Code” can be found at This policy builds upon, rather than replaces, the SIU code of conduct. Architecture faculty members are expected to model good behavior and hold students to the standards detailed in this Handbook. Students should encourage one another to maintain the School’s policies. When policies are disregarded, it is a shared responsibility to bring the infraction to the attention of the proper authority and seek proper resolution.

Architecture Studio Culture
This policy is established in an effort to preserve studios as productive work environments in which students cultivate the professional conduct expected in the practice of architecture. This will be manifest through a series of specific goals, and recognition of personal responsibility to ensure the integrity of the culture.

Faculty and students will pursue activities associated with the architecture studio in a manner which respects the broader goals of the program and College.

Although the architecture curriculum maintains the traditional significance of the studio experience in a professional program, it will not institutionalize the common and destructive practice of elevating studio work over all other course-work, extracurricular activities and personal pursuits. Studio is recognized as the central part of a larger puzzle defined by college education and experience. To these ends, first and foremost, students are encouraged to work diligently during regular class time and normal waking hours as they pursue excellence in their architectural design. Access to the building after the conclusion of classes each day is a privilege, not a right.

The physical setting of the architecture studio will express an open community that promotes positive self-expression and maintains a high-functioning workplace.

To formally represent the open environment which we strive to achieve, the studios will be maintained as open areas in which academic classes are clustered. Students may elect to bring bookcases or other small storage units into their work area. Only partitions provided by the college will be permitted to divide studios by class level.

Arrangement of furnishings and equipment will be maintained to ensure their proper use by faculty and students who have classes in the building throughout the day. Furniture, equipment and other college property of all kinds may be moved only under the express approval of architecture faculty and for short-term arrangements to suit specific curricular goals, like studio reviews. It is every class’s responsibility to return furniture to its proper place at the conclusion of a review or other instance calling for the rearrangement of furniture.

The overall environment of the architecture studio will respect everyone’s right to a professional space dedicated to focused and creative work.

At the start of each year, architecture majors are assigned to (or select) a work space which they can call their own for the semester. It is each student’s privilege and responsibility to maintain a work space within the larger environment that is geared toward production, professionalism and intellectual exercise. Such academic discipline is in accord with relaxed attitudes, but with a recreational atmosphere.

The building will be kept clean and orderly by the janitorial staff, however, students are responsible for their individual work stations. All trash must be disposed of properly and in a timely manner. Students should maintain their own materials and equipment, and must not borrow materials, supplies or tools from colleagues without their specific permission. Students shall not interfere with, touch or move anyone else’s work. Classrooms are not to be considered after-hours studio space. Students will work in other parts of he building only when it is impossible to complete a project at their tables. At the conclusion of each semester, each studio area will be thoroughly cleaned by the students who used it. Anything remaining after the conclusion of final exams will be removed and discarded.

Design projects and personal items cannot be stored in the studio space between semesters. Any projects or personal items that remain after final exams will be thrown away. Exceptions may be given with faculty permission.

Students are expected to enjoy and personalize their work environment, but must do so with respect to others. Students may decorate their work spaces, but must be mindful of the studio as a public space, and refrain from displaying any items which may be offensive.

During class meeting times, the use of cell phones, CD players, and other electronic items is allowed at the discretion of the faculty. After studio class time, a respectful work environment should be maintained and no student should be disrupted by the use of these items.

Proper and respectful attire is required in all classrooms as well as the studio. This includes shirts and shoes at all times for hygienic and safety reasons. Individual instructors may set dress code guidelines for presentation days.

Beverages, and food, may be consumed while studio is in session at the discretion of the individual instructor; eating is permitted in the studios when not in session, as long as students maintain personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness.

The Architecture studio will be a place of open communication.

In a college which promotes critical thinking, the healthy exchange of different points of view is as important as the reinforcement of shared opinions. Just as they value individual people, faculty and students will value individual opinions and judgment, and will be encouraged to share them in a non-threatening environment.

Faculty and students are encouraged to engage their regular classmates in debate and discourse. It thus requires concerted effort to reject complacency and embrace healthy friction. Even when not directed by a professor, students can (and should) talk about one another’s work, offering support for positive points and constructive criticism for areas in need of development.

Faculty and students are encouraged to discuss architectural matters with vigor; they are encouraged to know which of their opinions are founded on good evidence and which might be founded on matters of taste, and act accordingly. Criticism should always be focused on projects rather than on their authors. At the same time, students must be mindful of the fact that critique is not directed at them but rather directed at the project that is external to them; they should not interpret genuine architectural critique personally. Faculty will seek to model good critical behaviors, especially promoting inter-student dialogues in the first years of the program to better enable their critical development.

Absolute Prohibitions
The following items are highlighted here as they are not simply annoyances or hindrances to the functioning of our program, but rather potential threats to the safety and welfare of individuals. These items apply to students and faculty both. Each is absolutely, explicitly and unequivocally prohibited and has no place in this community.

  • Vandalism or theft of department, division or college property (including, but not limited to, wood shop tools, computer equipment and art supplies).
  • Any use of aerosol products inside the building: spray-paint, fixative, spray-mount and the like are potentially harmful to the facility and, more important, to human health.
  • The use of aerosol products outside of the building:
    • without proper underlay to catch all overspray residue, and/or
    • in proximity to the parking lot so as to threaten to damage
      either the building or vehicles
  • Intolerance of any sort, including sexual harassment, religious prejudice and racial slurs. Such may take the form of written and verbal language as well as the display of images that could be regarded as offensive or degrading.
  • Verbal threats and physical intimidation
  • Unwelcome physical contact of any sort

Dispute Resolution
When disputes arise among students, students should strive to openly confront one another to resolve the problem. When this fails to achieve a resolution, students should go to their professor or a program administrator to act as a mediator at the earliest possible opportunity. Problems should not be permitted to smolder.

In most cases, in the open environment the program strives to cultivate, differences of opinion can and should be worked out among the parties in question. However, in the occurrence of the serious abuses highlighted in the section entitled “Absolute Prohibitions”—each of which is in conflict with college policy and/or local or federal law—students are discouraged from handling the situation themselves, but should instead report such wrongdoing to an architecture school administrator at their earliest opportunity.

Any complaint by a student against a faculty member will be initially addressed in a discussion between the student and the faculty member in a good faith effort to seek resolution by both. If the student is not satisfied with the conclusion of that discussion, the student has the right to appeal to the Director of the School of Architecture. The Director shall evaluate the complaint and gather all essential information. The Director may then seek the advice of the program faculty. The Director shall render a decision deciding the legitimacy of the complaint and render a final decision.

The student has the right to appeal the Director’s decision to the CASA Dean’s office for undergraduate students and to the Graduate School for graduate students (see “Graduate School – Academic Grievances Policy/Procedures”, p.46). The policies and procedures of CASA and the Graduate School will govern when this appeal is made.

Download the Studio Culture Policy PDF