Turenscape Academy (TA) is charged with engaging with the challenges and opportunities of accelerated urbanization, whilst maintaining a particular focus on design, in the disciplinary areas of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urbanism and Art & Design. TA intends to explore diverse means with which to conceive and formulate Green Urbanism for the 21st century, through a commitment to innovation and discovering alternatives to conventional technological approaches. A sensitivity for cultural identities and social values underscores the search for an ecologically robust approach to urbanism. TA’s mission is in the service of cities, landscapes and settlements to become green both literally in an environmental sense, and also metaphorically, as places of new growth, transformation and positive change. A philosophy of learning through active participation – Learning by Doing – will encourage students to engage with these important challenges both creatively – thinking outside the box – as well as practically – remaining grounded – through informed responses to specific social, environmental, cultural and economic circumstances. The interdisciplinary perspective fostered at TA is seen as a critical catalyst for dialogue and dissemination in the form of symposia, conferences, workshops, publications, site interventions, exhibitions and events.
The educational ethos of Turenscape Academy (TA) is not only about the acquisition of skills and qualifications for the isolated individual; it concerns the dynamic of interaction of people communicating their shared aspirations. TA aims to foster new ways of engaging with public audiences and existing communities, as well as with involved stakeholders and decision makers. With a commitment to providing a forum for open creative dialogue, TA demonstrates the benefits of integrating this approach with the multiple disciplines of contemporary design practice. As an experimental studio-based model, TA provides a clear alternative to traditional design education in which students are encouraged to work independently and to come up with their own ideas often in isolation. The interdisciplinary and collaborative philosophy of TA stands in contrast, and is based rather upon the ethos – Many minds are greater than one – nurturing the personal and unique as well as the shared and contributory. As an alternative to conventional institutions, TA gives students the time and space to be able to think both from the perspective of the known based on personal past and present experiences, as well as from the perspective of the unknown, based on progressive thinking in the presence of, and in open dialogue with others. The family of students, teachers and staff in Turenscape Academy are all considered as active contributors to the ethos of Learning by Doing. This commitment to nurturing multidisciplinary learning is seen as the initiation of a robust alternative to a model of competition, driven rather by collaborative organization and social leadership. By exploring the challenges of shared intellectual enquiry TA intends to foster more fluid design processes which may create added value and hence may generate fresh design thinking. TA’s collaborative ethos serves to transgress the limiting boundaries of the disciplinary and professional categories defined as architects, landscape architects, ecologists, planners, artists, etc…. An integrated approach to design embraces environmental dynamics, agricultural practices, rural ecology, sociology, economy, among other disciplinary arenas. To enable an open atmosphere of mutual learning, TA aims to continuously strive to develop broad partnerships with key individuals and other professional and educational institutions in China and worldwide. TA seeks to establish active partnerships with similar alternative and exploratory studios and research-based organizations.