Exploring in Community Outreach and Service Learning: Voluntary Design Charrette of Cambodian Community Center

Presented by: Myoung Joo Chun, Miyoung Hong

As designers understand the impact of their creative works, it is important for them to develop an ethical stance in which they evaluate not only the aesthetic and economic aspects of their work, but also its implication to society. Socially responsible learning has become importantthroughout higher education by adopting a service learning (Barber 1992; Cisneros 1995; Coles 1993). In addition, integrating service learning especially in applied disciplines such as architecture and interior design is needed since it affords students opportunities to broaden their conceptual knowledge and skills through developing an operational understating that leads to competency, crucial for professional practice (Roakes and Norris-Tirrell, 2000). Yet, little has been devoted to the discussion of social design in the education of interior designers that might prepare them to the design process and to the service of the community. This poster presentation utilizes a voluntary-based student design charrette for the Living Fields Organization. The project involved working with the Living Fields Organization, a nonprofit organization. Approximately, __9_ graduate interior architecture students and _1__Faculty participated in a day charrette during outside of class time to research, analyze, and propose solutions for extending the Living Fields mission by building the Lynn Cambodian Community Center. The students compromised two teams, consisting of four to five students per team. In the kickoff meeting, students learned the information such as demographics, need of clients and design prospect and discussed about the possible suggestions. The Living Fields provided a half basement space measuring about 1,500 square footage utilized existing opportunities and integrated them into a solution addressing the facets of learning, growing, and joining in a community with one another. The Charrette focused on developing a space for quiet, independent study/learning zone for the youth and another zone for collaboration and social gathering for the Cambodian Community in Lynn, Massachusetts. This design charrette provided students with an opportunity to work as a team, to learn about the design for the outside community in need and about the actual design process from the schematic design and possibly to the construction professionally outside of the classroom. Students learnt to make critical problem solving design decisions within given short time This poster presentation advocates for the use of charrette as an instructional method in design education to reinforce the socially responsible design through actual clients in multidimensional needs. It also highlights students’ Design charrette experience that can develop a heightened awareness of social compact design as multidimensional concepts.


  • Barber, B. (1992) An Aristocracy of Everyone: The Politics of Education and the Future of America. New York: Oxford.
  • Cisneros, H. (1995) The University and the Urban Challenge, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Coles, R. (1993) The Call of Service: a Witness to Idealism. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.
  • Roakes, S.L. and Norris-Tirrell, D. (2000), “Community service learning in planning education: a framework for course development”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 100-10.
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