Crafting Intimacy

Paper:  Crafting Intimacy: Sculpting the Design Process of the Architecture Student 

This paper was published in 2013 in the International Journal of Design Education. It was previously presented in January 2012 at the Sixth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices hosted by UCLA in Los Angeles, California.

Schwartz, Chad. (2013). “Crafting intimacy:  Sculpting the design process of the architecture student.”  The International Journal of Design Education 6 (3), 63-75.

Abstract: In his book Cube, David Morrow Guthrie discusses the role of abstraction or representation as the typical means of generating design in an architectural studio. For him, these constructs remove the maker from the immediacy and intimacy of the built architectural work. In addition, when these representations are made primarily by using Building Information Modeling or Computer Aided Drafting software, students have a tendency to have a constrained process in developing their design projects because of the limited ways in which they interact with the software. These projects often have narrow scope and conceptual basis and, at worst, are only designed as the software or the student’s understanding of the software will allow. To combat this trend, the studio environment needs to be re-invigorated through the implementation of alternate strategies that allow the students to engage in the design process more intimately. As a response to these thoughts, one strategy for stimulating the architectural studio is the introduction of full-scale building materials as a primary medium for the generation of conceptual design. This approach forces the student to engage in the more intimate process of ‘critical making’ and provides a disconnect from digital representation and a focus on the realities of the built world. A study of select studio work from a recent course reflects the integration of these practices and their impact on the design process of the participating students.

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