UCL Urban Laboratory


Nicola Antaki

Bartlett School of Architecture and Development Planning Unit

Critical Design Pedagogy: Learning Architecture with the Muktangan School Community

This practice-led research explores how architecture can be considered a 'third teacher'[1], investigating how children can be involved in (re)designing their environment in a bid to democratise the city, develop practices of global citizenship. How can the architectural design process be used as a contemporary critical pedagogical tool, to activate and spatialise axiological and political thinking?

In collaboration with Muktangan School in Mumbai since 2012, the research interrogates the spatial interplays between learning and pedagogy in simultaneously global/local, informal/formal, school/home contexts. During an experimental critical design pedagogy, formed by theories and practices of John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Celestin Freinet, and Mahatma Gandhi, the school children observed, mapped, assessed critically, and then transformed their school and neighbourhood, informal settlement Mariamma Nagar, using design and craft.

[1] Reference to the environment as a 'third teacher' is a phrase coined by Loris Malaguzzi founder of the Reggio Emilia School and pedagogy in Italy.

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