Paper: Drawing Conclusions: A Student’s Introduction to the Realities of Their Designs

This paper was published in 2013 in the International Journal of Design Principles and Practices – Annual Review. This special edition consists of editors selections and invited papers from the entities collection of six journals.  The paper was originally selected for publication in the International Journal of Design Education.  It was previously presented in March 2013 at the Seventh International Conference on Design Principles and Practices hosted by the Chiba University in Chiba, Japan.

This paper has been awarded the 2013 International Award for Excellence.  It was selected as the top paper of 2013 for The Design Collection, a series of six journals focused on different aspects of design.

Schwartz, Chad (2013).  “Drawing conclusions:  A student’s introduction to the realities of their designs.”  Design Principles and Practices:  An International Journal – Annual Review 7, 19-28.

Abstract:  In his book The Thinking Hand, Juhani Pallasmaa states that, “[w]hile drawing, a mature designer and architect is not focused on the lines of the drawing, as he is envisioning the object itself, and in his mind holding the object in his hand or occupying the space being designed.” How then does the beginning design student gain the insight necessary to interpret these representations, these lines on paper?  In the field of architectural education, we take on the responsibility of helping these students begin to develop a process of translating the lines they draw into a conscious projection of the resultant construction.  This research paper presents a project developed for an introductory building technology course which aims to help second year architecture and interior design students start to make these connections.  Through a series of translations, nine groups of students transformed a simple schematic wall section drawing into a fully built construct and, in the process, made intimate and lasting connections between the virtual and the real in the design and construction of a simple architectural work.

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