For the last decade, the Advanced Architectural Research Studio at the Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University of Ankara, has concentrated its efforts on different cities in order to question their underlying problems, from social to physical; and to search for alternative urban design solutions. Relied on the premises of the theory of dialectical urbanism, two terms, "context" and "programme," have been revisited in order to decipher the complexity of alternative urbanizations, in which architectural transformation processes have come under question using such themes as border, memory, accessibility or interface. In this respect, this article forms part of this scholarly investigation with which the theme, "hybrid" has been utilised to overcome the spatial shortcomings of a specific town in the Balkans - Pogradec. Combining insights from sociological and political realities of the context, it introduces a critique of the transmission model of design education, which renders studio works as passive abstract practices removed from social and cultural realities. This critical pedagogy not only challenges the limiting framework of contemporary architectural education but also calls back the creative political formations developed during the foundational years of the school. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.