Bricolage as a design methodology

BRICOLAGE_Scorched-Earth-2006

Bricolage implies that :

  • design is in crisis: the standard social science methods are not well adapted to the new realities of global complexity which contains new concepts that they define, such as the “multiple“, the “distributed” and the “emotional“/ design research has relied on established methods from other disciplines however, it is not  about the variety of methods available as it is about the hegemonic and dominatory pretensions of certain versions or accounts of method/ some methods, although extremely good, fail to appropriate the ephemeral, the indefinite and the irregular/ educationally that has resulted in a refocusing on understanding how design can address social, economic and political issues; what kind of future world we want to live in/ understand-improve-apply the practice of design has become what is the nature of design? (Law + Urry)
  • designs is undisciplined: it has always had to draw knowledge from other disciplines, initially through a lack of existing subject knowledge and lately due to a refocusing on larger, more difficult social issues/ Buchanan: design is the last liberal art, meaning a discipline of thinking that may be shared to some degree by all men and women in their daily lives and is in turn mastered by a few people who practice the discipline with distinctive insight and sometimes advance it to new areas of innovative applications/ design acts as an agent of change due to design’s ability to synthesize understanding from the natural world with understanding of the human condition/ the SEVEN ROLES of the designer: facilitator-researcher-co-creator-communicator-strategist-capability builder-enterpreneur (Buchana, Banerjee, Fry)
  • design is maturing: the study of the discipline is scientifically based and the accumulated knowledge is subject to criticism/ the practice of the discipline is unrestricted as to the area of application/ both study and practice give active consideration to the social problems and ramifications/ there is a growing number of phds and a growing number of related journals and conferences/ design can only exist outside its disciplinary boundaries to be effective (Kernan)

 

References

Yee, J.S.R., Bremner, C., 2011. Methodological Bricolage – What does it tell us about Design? In Doctoral Design Education Conference, 23-25 May 2011, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Hong Kong, available here

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Knowledge and Design, 1972

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Design proceeds by conjecture-analysis than by analysis-synthesis (…) if research is to make an impact on design it must influence designers at the pre-structuring and conjectural stages (…) regardless the quality of research work itself, the history of attempts to link research to improvements in environmental action is largely one of confusion and failure (…) there is a widespread feeling that an ‘applicability gap’ has developed between research and design (…) far from being removed from the field of science, the cognitive schemes by which we interpret the world and pre-structure our observations are increasingly seen to be the essential subject matter of science (…) we cannot escape from the fact that designers must, and do, pre-structure their problems in order to solve them (…) Popper: science could be contained within a hypothetico-deductive scheme/ Kuhn: science as a puzzle solving activity until the next paradigm switch/ Lakatos: science as conflicting sets of inter-related theories (…) the object of science is cognition (…) remaking cognition (…) SO FARthe role of scientific work is to provide factual information that can be assimilated into design; second that a rationalised design process, able to assimilate such information, would characteristically and necessarily proceed by decomposing a problem into its elements, adding an information content to each element drawn as far as possible from scientific work, and “synthesizing” a solution by means of a set of logical or procedural rules (…) design as we know it can be seen as the socially differentiated transformation of the reflexive cognition of the maker in terms of the latent possibilities of his tools, materials and object types. Its object is not the building, but at one remove, sets of instructions for the building (…) NOW: we can imagine a man and an object he will create as though separated by a space which is filled, on the one hand, with tools and raw materials which we can call his ‘instrumental set’, (or perhaps technological means) and on the other, a productive sequence or process by which an object may be realized (…) we would argue that design is essentially a matter of pre-structuring problems either by a knowledge of solution types or by a knowledge of the latencies of the instrumental set in relation to solution types, and that is why the process of design is resistant to the inductive-empiricist rationality so common in the field. A complete account of the designer’s operations during design, would still not tell us where the solution came from (…)  the polarization between rational and intuitive design should be reformulated as a polarity between reflexive design and non-reflexive design (…) four main types of elements: instrumental sets, solution types, codes and information (…) at this point of time a building is a climate modifier, a behavior modifier, a cultural modifier ad a resource modifier

 

References

Hillier, B., Musgrove, J., O’ Sullivan, P., 1972. Knowledge and Design. In William Mitchell (ed.), Environmental design: Research and Practice, edra3/ar8 conference, UCLA, January 1972

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Design with a capital D

DESIGN

RCA Report on the nature of design with a capital D

  • central concern is “the conception and realization of new things”
  • it encompasses the appreciation of “material culture” and the application of “the arts of planning, inventing, making and doing.”
  • at its core is the ‘language’ of ‘modelling’; it is possible to develop students’ aptitudes in this ‘language’, equivalent to aptitudes in the ‘language’ of the sciences – numeracy – and the ‘language’ of humanities – literacy
  • design has its own distinct ‘things to know, ways of knowing them, and ways of finding out about them’

Education in any of these ‘cultures’ entails the following three aspects:

  • the transmission of knowledge about a phenomenon of study
  • a training in the appropriate methods of enquiry
  • an initiation into the belief systems and values of the ‘culture’

If we contrast the sciences, the humanities, and design under each aspect, we may become clearer of what we mean by design, and what is particular to it.
the phenomenon of study in each culture is:

  • in the sciences: the natural world
  • in the humanities: human experience
  • in design: the man-made world

the appropriate methods in each culture are:

  • in the sciences: controlled experiment, classification, analysis
  • in the humanities: analogy, metaphor, criticism, evaluation
  • in design: modelling, pattern-formation, synthesis

the values of each culture are:

  • in the sciences: objectivity, rationality, neutrality, and a concern for ‘truth’
  • in the humanities: subjectivity, imagination, commitment, and a concern for ‘justice’
  • in design: practicality, ingenuity, empathy, and a concern for ‘appropriateness’

Perhaps it would be better to regard the ‘third culture’ as technology, rather than design (…) Technology involves a synthesis of knowledge and skills from both the sciences and the humanities, in the pursuit of practical tasks.

 

References

Cross, N., 1982. Designerly ways of knowling. In Design Studies, Vol. 3, no. 4 pp. 221-227

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Complexity – Supercomplexity

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unknown-ness/un-certainty due to: a. the pace of change/from the sheer multiplication of entities/pertinent evidence/relevant knowledge & the overload of information, b. a sense of an unknown world/ ignorance explosion, it is a radically unknowable world, c. internal changes/ personal sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fragility, chaos, destabilized world.

complexity speaks to a feature of systems such that the interactions between their elements are unclear, uncertain and unpredictable (…) not just an overload of entities that exhaust the resources available but a situation in which the very engagement with such set of entities is liable to set off a chain of incalculable events

supercomplexity challenges could never be resolved at least not in ways similar to those of complexity (…) open-textured questions that yield interpretations that are not just different but incompatible (…) university should engage with life-world challenges and thereby pedagogical challenges that arise from the age of supercomplexity as in “learning from an unknown future”

 

References

Barnett, R., 2004. Learning for an unknown future. In Higher Education Research and Development, Vol. 23, No. 3, August 2004.

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Use of VLE for threshold concepts

DS AS LIMINAL SPACE

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase One

collage workshop – evaluation of learning through anonymous post-it notes:

  • what did you grasp today? what’s still a bit confusing? (if a student didn’t understand something, however small and seemingly inconsequential, it would be
    heard (anonymously) and acted on.)
  • whose work did you find successful? ( to remind students that whilst their drawings grow from personal values and engagement, they succumb to the viewers’ interpretations)

collage workshop – online summary from the session was prepared

  • The online space of the VLE with content structured in the form of a tutorial session served to allow students to repeatedly go over moments of uncertainty or trouble from the workshop.

The demands of project based learning are rigorous: the need to generate elements of work continuously (or fear falling behind) puts pressure on students to sidestep conceptually difficult elements by creating works that seem correct yet do not demonstrate a grasp of the underlying principles

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase Two

learning orthographic projection – evaluation of mistakes & omissions

  • double approach: hand design and CAD design of the same process_images looked right but were not right in both design environments

learning orthographic projection – online tools for tutoring

  • fifteen minute podcast and sample sketchbook as online handout

Removing activities from the scheduled studio sessions offers a strategy for responding to a stuffed curriculum and frees up time to focus on elements of transformative learning

 

References

Williams, J., 2014. The design studio as liminal space. In Charrette 1(1) Summer 2014.

Image available here 

#The City we need

ROCCO

Twitter Chat with Roberto Rocco/ Tuesday 30.01, 14:00-15:00 (GMT +3). Extract from the brief:

The way in which planning and design are generally taught does not cater for the need to create sustainable, fair and inclusive cities. Many planning and design schools follow an old paradigm of architectural education that privileges individual genius and design creativity and do not prepare students to understand the implications of social, economic and environmental sustainability, spatial justice and the right to the city (…) This poses the question: what can spatial planning and design schools actually DO in order to help deliver the city we need? What do we need to teach, and how, in order to be able to deliver enlightened professionals who are able to work in a transdisciplinary way, incorporating grassroots participation and multiple stakeholders in planning and design processes that embrace complexity and are embedded in local social, political, economic and cultural landscapes?

Organization: The World Urban Campaign/ Image available here

Markus/Maver Route Map of the Design Process

MARKUS&MAVER

Analysis involves the exploration of relationships, looking for patterns in the information available, and the classification of objectives. Analysis is the ordering and structuring of the problem. Synthesis on the other hand is characterized by an attempt to move forward and create a response to the problem – the generation of solutions. Appraisal involves the critical evaluation of suggested solutions against the objectives identified in the analysis phase.

A complete picture of design method requires both a ‘decision sequence’ and a ‘design process’ or ‘morphology’. They suggest that we need to go through the decision sequence of analysis, synthesis, appraisal and decision at increasingly detailed levels of the design process (stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the RIBA handbook) (…) Maps of the design process may need to allow for return loops from an activity to that preceding it (…) This accounts for the return loop in the Markus/Maver decision sequence from appraisal to synthesis, which in simple terms calls for the designer to have another idea since the previous one turned out to be inadequate.

 

References

Lawson, B., 2005. How Designers Think: The Design Process Demystified (4th ed.). Oxford: Architectural Press

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Critical Reflections on Schön’s Reflective Practitioner by Helena Webster

 

REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONER

Schön’s failures:

  • there are other cognitive, affective and corporeal dimensions to learning that take place both within the studio and in other settings/ he produced notions of reflective practice at a time when there was a significant paradigm shift from “behavioral” and “cognitive” psychology to “humanist” and “situated” theories of learning.
  • students experience arch education as the sum of its explicit and hidden dimensions and it is this total experience that effects the development of students from novices to professional architects/ Schön confines his notion of student learning to formal pedagogic encounters
  • in his long explication of students’ encounters with design tutors suggests that the role of the design tutor is to ‘correct’ students’ designs, he fails to acknowledge that arch is a dynamic and contested field or the ramifications that this might have on the design tutorial interaction
  • Schön’s description of teaching is arguably akin to a teacher-centered model; described by the learning and teaching literature as a ‘transmission’ model of teaching/ Schön fails to recognise that Quist, as a representative of a particular institutional habitus, uses his power to direct Petra’s learning towards alignment with his normative habitus
  • the plausibility of temporal aspects of Schön’s concepts are also questionable: at what point does action become reflection-in-action and at what point does reflection-in-action stop and reflection-on-action start?

Today’s truths are constructed by cultural groups, Webster argues. There are struggles of power between the groups about the dominance of their particular truths. Architectural professional knowledge is constructed and contested both within and between groups. In this context presenting arch knowledge as unproblematic is odd.

 

References

Webster, H., 2008. Architectural Education after Schön: Cracks, Blurs, Boundaries and Beyond. In Journal for Education in the Built Environment, Vol. 3, Issue 2, December 2008 pp. 63-74 (12)

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How soon is now?

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  • Real Virtual: virtual environments that represent the real world.
  • Virtual Augmented Real: use of ubiquitous augmented information systems connected to the real world objects (ie. GPS data, pilot’s line of sight measurement etc)
  • Real Augmented Virtual: information from the real world gets embedded into the virtual realm. (ie. Kinect Sports Video Game)
  • Fantastic Virtual: products of unrestrained imagination

 

Reference

Pak, B. Newton, C., Verbeke, J., 2012. Virtual Worlds and Architectural Education: A Typological Framework. In Proceedings of the 30th eCAADe Conference – Volume 1, Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture (Czech Republic) 12-14 September 2012, pp. 739-746.

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ZARCH Publication now available!

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I am very pleased to see our articlePedagogical approaches to embodied topography: a workshop that unravels the hidden and imaginary landscapes of Elaionas,‘ get published in ZARCH Journal and I am also very happy to share this with you. It is based on a collaborative project that began in 2015 with Prof. Nelly Marda and Christos Kakalis from the University of Newcastle along with the students of our postgraduate course in NTUA.

The article highlights the importance of mapping in urban design and uses the concept of embodied topography to describe how activating the human body through a series of sensory motor tasks can help individuals immerse themselves in the landscape to acquire a better understanding of the urban phenomena. This process is presented here as a tool of mapping and managing the complexity of the urban landscape as it enables the individuals to recover the more hidden or even imaginary aspects of the city and their own relation to it.

As this is an ongoing research I hope that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are doing with more people involved in this kind of research in urban design. So, feel free to comment and write back your own experiences on the matter.

ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, Num. 8, image available here

Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education by Joongsub Kim

 Architecture

This paper underlines the potential urban design has for architectural curricula. It also explains why an urban design course is a better choice for the experimental study of architectural blended learning as online technology enables the inclusion of a greater number of resources and stakeholders to be part of the learning process.

 

Urban design (replaced ‘civic design’ in 1960’s) plays a role in not only establishing the infrastructure and the underpinnings for building design, but also in bridging the gap between architecture and other disciplines that apply principles of urbanism in various ways (…) Urban design is an interdisciplinary profession, integrating urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental studies, and the social sciences (…) Urban design is, arguably, more process-oriented

 

Four approaches to advancing architectural education and pedagogy:

  • facilitating: promoting consensus about design/place making (place  intended a. as a set of visual attributes/ b. as product/ c. as process/ d. as meaning) is inherently multi-faceted, urban design incorporates more players and interests and UD is more likely to offer diverse tools to handle such a process/ place as meaning deals with subjective perceptions as translated from group experiences/ many scattered views maybe combined into a more unified, shared vision through consensus-based design, architects act as facilitators rather than directors
  • grounding: promoting logical underpinning, inquiry by design, and evidence-based design/ managing and making sense of complex information (process based)/ studying how a place looks-functions-is influenced, how it makes people feel (the spirit of a place)/ basic techniques of grounding are to be found in contextualised findings (infrastructure-networksbuilt env.-biogenic env.)/ designers in this case respond to questions asked during study-they keep searching for a design rationale
  • convening: promoting social design/ desirable places provide us with public meaning and positive environmental sociability/ it pointedly addresses the needs of underrepresented individuals in design- service learning and thinking of architecture as public art/ this approach envisions place as a final ‘product’ with tangible attributes
  • designing therapeutically: promoting a holistic environmental sensibility/ desirable places foster the holistic well-being of place users, urban designers reduce environmental stresses/ New Urbanism and Green Building/ a desirable sustainable design or sustainable urbanism goes beyond dealing with physical and environmental considerations, rating systems, and energy concerns to address social and psychological concerns

 

References

  • Joongsub Kim, 2009. Urban Design as a Catalyst for Advancing Architectural Education, in ARCC Journal Vol 6, issue 1

Image available here