Tuesday, June 24, 2014


How does the design process change when my students know they will be held accountable to build what they design?  That is one of the fundamental questions that I am interested in with this course.  Hopefully, this understanding that this structure will be built (by this class this summer) will lead to a more careful attention to the art of building as a fundamental aspect of the design process.

This past week, students submitted their first design studies for the Architecture Design Build Summer studio.  I have asked the students to consider form, space, tectonics and constructability throughout the entire design process. 

The intent of this first design study “MULTIPLES” was to get students working in teams, and to produce a variety of concepts and approaches to the design of the gathering space pavilion.  These are first studies, and as such they are valuable for getting ideas down on paper and giving the class a point from which to develop their work.  Design variety and multiple options allowed us to begin to make some decisions about design potential, and what we might want this project to become.  Students were grouped together in four teams of four persons.  Each team produced three design schemes for a total of twelve. 


During the first critique, we discussed each of the twelve projects in detail.  As a group we identified the strengths and weaknesses for each scheme.  At the conclusion of the critique, we discussed how we might proceed as a class, and began the difficult process of eliminating schemes.  As with any design project, it is necessary to prioritize, edit, and ultimately discard good design ideas to be able to move forward and develop the work.

To assist this process I had students each vote using colored sticky dots.  Each student voted for four projects; the most successful formally, the most successful spatially, the project that best considered tectonics and the project that was the most constructible or feasible.  The dot voting technique was primarily useful as a discussion generating tool by revealing patterns in how the students felt about the work.  It helped us to identify several projects with strong potential, and others that might be combined into single schemes.
The class now must synthesize and develop these ideas into 4 design schemes for next week. 

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