This paper describes the development of a virtual studio environment to support collaborative working in the domain of building design. By applying and extending the real-world design studio model within the Internet-based distributed computing environments, the virtual studio concept has been refined as computerised settings, which integrate both the dispersed human designers and the distributed CAD applications. The hope is to achieve the similar effect as physical co-presence while providing extra advantages such as the support for automatic communication archiving and being less obtrusive than sharing a physical office. Like its real-world counterpart (which usually consists of the office, desks, file cabinets, instruments etc), such a virtual studio consists of the several major components, including a multi-user graphical user interface displaying the shared virtual workspace on each designer's workstation, distributed multimedia databases and CAD tools for processing the domain tasks, and rich human-human interaction facilities supporting a variety of communication modes. Advance distributed object computing technologies (0MG CORBA in particular) have been adopted for modelling and implementing the distributed systems, W3 (world-wide-web) technologies have also been exploited for constructing the distributed multi-media databases and an image communication kit. In contrast to the traditional CAD integration which is usually focused solely on the well-structured technical part of the product and process, the described research advocates a human-centred systems development strategy in which design is first of all taken as a process of social construction.