From Space to Place

From Space to Place


China / United Kingdom


This project aims to build students’ confidence and competence to operate in unfamiliar or ambiguous settings. Students from Central South University (CSU) in China and Coventry University in England are provided an architectural brief that requires the application of subject knowledge to unknown environments and engagement with clients from diverse national and cultural backgrounds.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate ability to explore and experiment with the design process in unfamiliar settings
  2. Demonstrate ability to develop architectural proposition that reflects diverse client and user requirements, and conditions imposed by local site and context
  3. Enhance ability to communicate ideas through appropriate use of non-verbal visual tools, images and drawings to support understanding

Interactive Activities

1st Interactions
Group Allocation & Ice-breaker

  • Students are assigned in groups with equal numbers of CSU and CU participants
  • Students upload a photo and share information about themselves to help build relations, communication and trust
  • This information forms the basis for more in-depth Skype ice-breaker sessions

2nd Interactions
Site Research & Analysis

  • Students upload and critically discuss their research findings and analysis of respective sites in the architectural brief
  • Coventry University students are assigned a site in CSU campus, China whilst CSU students are allocated a UK site in Coventry University
  • Students follow-up initial online knowledge exchange with in-depth Skype discussions only in pairs
  • These sessions are supervised by tutors

3rd Interactions
Peer Feedback & Final Assignment 

  • Students are required to upload assembly drawings of their individual site proposals for critique, evaluation and feedback from international peers
  • Peer feedback evaluations are used to select one proposal for each group to develop into a full size model
  • The full size model is displayed on site

4th Interactions
Intercultural Reflection

  • CSU and CU students critically reflect on the collaborative intercultural design and communication process during a post-project Skype session
  • Students also participate in pre and post questionnaires which are based on Chen and Startosta’s Intercultrual Sensitivity Survey

Student Outputs

Negotiations During the Design Process                               Negotiation, Change and Adjustment

Negotiation in the Design Process                    Negotiation, Change and Adjust


Compromising                                                                                 Final Models

Compromise                    Final Models

CU visit to CSU

Amela Group Pic

Professor Li Tang (School of Architecture & Art) , Stephen Austin (Head of Energy Construction & Environment) and Amela Bogdanovic (Lecturer & CU project leader)

Dining in China

CSU Architecture team with Amela and Stephen

CU Context

Course: BSc Architecture
Module: Design, Process and Communication I (Level 1)
Participants: 30

Image by Philip Lai (CC BY-ND 2.0)