Boler’s Pedagogy of Discomfort: Examining a Turn of the Century Idea for Contemporary Architectural Education
Authors: McLaughlan, Rebecca; Liddicoat, Stephanie
Within the architectural design studio we have the opportunity to employ Boler’s (1999) Pedagogy of Discomfort in two dimensions; both to disrupt students’ ways of seeing and also their habits of making – the way they execute design as a practice. By challenging students to work with theoretical ideas and methods of creation beyond those they are comfortable with, a transformation in their
understanding of the role of architecture and how it operates within the world can result. This paper will reflect on two design studios recently conducted at the University of Melbourne that sought to broaden students’ perceptions of architecture’s potential to influence perceptions, discourses and behaviours. Furthermore, to enable them to recognise their own capacity to challenge convention and, by extension, their own agency to demonstrate leadership within the built environment. This paper will reframe Boler’s pedagogy of discomfort through Markauskaite and Goodyear’s (2016) more recent theory of epistemic fluency to establish the enduring relevance of Boler’s pedagogical approach for contemporary architectural education.