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2023-2024 Studio Culture Policy

Last updated on Sep 05, 2023

Community Health and Safety Protocols

For the health and safety of our learning environment it is paramount that we all follow the "COVID–19 Information for the CCA Community" as well as this page (Isolation and Quarantine for Positive Cases, Symptoms, or Close Contact) which outlines the steps to take if you have tested positive for COVID-19, show symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Masks are required indoors for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals; vaccinated individuals may remove masks outdoors but unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks at all times.

Eating in the studios during class time is prohibited in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.

Learning and Teaching Culture

The learning and teaching culture in the Architecture Division at CCA is an energetic and productive environment where student work is nurtured with both respect and critical attention. The faculty, most of whom are practitioners, recognize that design is a creative act that requires intimate personal investment. Students are treated as collaborators in their own learning process and encouraged to develop life-long behaviors of curiosity, rigorous thinking and making, measured self-discipline, and engaged intellect. These values, rather than a particular visual style of work or set of theoretical constructs, are what characterize the CCA Architecture Division teaching and learning environment. We have worked hard over the years to create an environment that is simultaneously critical and respectful.

The design studio should be a place where students make their thoughts part of a public discourse with peers and faculty. This can only happen if everyone listens, considers what is being said or proposed by everyone else, and then thoughtfully responds to what is put forward. It also requires you to cogently and carefully put your own ideas forward for discussion. At their best, these conversations become animated debates about work and ideas where the student is both catalyst and participant.

This attitude extends to public reviews of student work. We believe that the public presentation/discussion format of the review process continues to be an essential part of the educational process. Our core values about this process are reflected in the fact that we call these discussions "reviews" rather than "juries." We have worked hard over the years to create an environment for this process that is simultaneously critical and respectful. The balance we have achieved makes for a lively and engaged culture of reviews. At its best, these conversations become animated debates about work and ideas where the student is both catalyst and participant.

The students should be able to rely on the fact that the public reviews of their work will be conducted in the above spirit. It is the job of the faculty to monitor the review to ensure that this in fact occurs. The faculty is responsible for the trust CCA establishes with its students, and must intervene if discussion of the work of a student strays from productive to counterproductive. Counterproductive reviewer behavior includes remarks that a reasonable person would construe as: belligerent or sarcastic; personal in nature; demeaning of a student’s intelligence, ability, or personal appearance; or insulting, threatening or potentially perceived as biased toward race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.

Studio Etiquette

Students enrolled are expected to work in the studio. This will immeasurably enrich the student’s learning potential. If everyone is to work in the studio, certain etiquette is necessary to ensure a civil working environment. The design studio should be a place where students make their thoughts part of a public discourse of peers and faculty. This can only happen if everyone listens, considers what is being said or proposed by everyone else, and then thoughtfully responds to what is put forward. It also requires students to cogently and carefully put their own ideas forward for discussion.

The studios are a shared and sometimes crowded space. Students are expected to be respectful to the work and desks of their peers and help to keep shared workspaces clean. This will sometimes require discarding old work, which should be placed into trash or recycling bins as appropriate. Projects that are to be saved for personal use or for future reviews and exhibitions should be stored neatly and labelled with your name and program.


During studio sessions students will work on graphic, modeling, and verbal presentation skills. These are crucial professional tools that can also help even while students are in school. Each pin-up or review is not only critical for advancing student work, but is also an opportunity to hone their presentation skills. We expect all students to be present for the entire time of every pin-up and review out of support and courtesy to their classmates. If student work is not pinned up at the beginning of class for a scheduled pin-up or review, it will be marked ‘late’ and may incur a grade reduction. If students pin up late for a major review, they may not be allowed to present their work.

Individual reviews and group pin-ups are an essential component of architectural education and will remain so in a hybrid format with both in person and online instruction. Since architecture and interior design are visual mediums, this means having new and thoughtful visual work (drawings, models) each class session, whether presented in person, shared on Zoom, or posted on Mural.

Attendance and Engagement

Attending studio classes is mandatory. Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in the studio, working, for the full duration of the class. All student cell phones are to be turned off during class meeting hours. Attendance at all studio periods, lectures, pin-ups, plug-ins, discussions and reviews is required. Refer to the CCA Academic Policy for additional details about attendance.


The official definition of plagiarism is the “the intentional or knowing representation of words, images, concepts, or ideas of another as one's own in any academic or studio exercise.” Do not use the work you did not participate in creating for grade submission. This will result in you failing the class. For additional information on plagiarism, refer to the CCA Academic Integrity Code.

Grading Policy

Students will not receive an individual grade on each of the numerous studies during the semester. Throughout the semester, students with unsatisfactory progress (UP) or attendance issues (AT) will be notified via an Interim Progress Report (IPR) so that they have an opportunity to address the instructor's concerns. For students who have unsatisfactory progress, individual meetings with their instructors will be mandatory. These students will also receive a written notice indicating this evaluation and what steps might be taken to bring the work up to a satisfactory level. At the end of the semester, students have an opportunity to meet with their instructor to review their overall performance in the course.

Final Grades will be based upon:

  • Performance (as defined in course syllabi);
  • Active engagement with the work of colleagues as well as with group discussions, pin-ups, & reviews;
  • Consistency of effort and work product throughout the semester;
  • Development of architectural and design skills over the course of the semester;
  • Completion of all required studio work, including readings;
  • Participation and attendance at all scheduled studio hours.

Sustainable Practices and Studio/Classroom Care and Maintenance

A unified college studio culture must be grounded in responsibility, thoughtfulness, and professionalism, therefore every CCA course should incorporate foundational instruction in basic studio use practices. In order for the College to live up to its environmental sustainability goals, to equip our graduates with behavioral tools needed to succeed in professional practice, and to develop shared responsible stewardship of College and global fiscal and material resources, we must work together to promote a culture of care at CCA that includes creating a positive and safe, welcoming and mutually respectful studio culture. 

Students must abide by any classroom, studio, or material safety policies and procedures set forth by the College, instructor(s), and/or studio manager(s). Students are responsible for abiding by the Safety and Conduct Agreement and for taking good care of classroom and studio equipment and for cleaning up after themselves in classrooms, shops, and anywhere else they do their work on campus. Some materials may violate the fire code or health and safety requirements, and are prohibited. Be mindful of the materials you select for your assignments and if there are questions, always reach out to the appropriate studio manager, faculty member, or chair before bringing potentially hazardous biological or toxic materials to campus. 

Studio culture care and stewardship must be fully integrated into classroom instruction by all CCA faculty. Faculty are responsible for making sure the spaces they use are clean and ready for the next class of learners. Faculty and students should expect some or all of the following: an orientation, studio contract, regular check-ins with studio staff, periodic inspection, and consequences when studio policies are not respected.