Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week 8 - Jigsaw on design philosophies

Two reminders: (1) the assignment for next week (see below) and (2) a reminder to bring 3 copies of your "concept idea" for peer feedback and discussion. The goal of the concept paper is to get you formulating your ideas and get feedback early on how to focus your ideas or what you can do to develop your idea. It can be text, a picture, an outline - whatever gets your idea across so you can get useful feedback.

Next week we are doing a jigsaw activity - this is a collaborative learning technique in which you first (1) work in one small group to learn about X, (2) then in a second group, teach others about what you learned about X, and then (3) in this second group discuss the intersection or relationships among the various ideas. For us, the X's are: sustainable design, participatory design, and human-centered design. Each of these represent a particular philosophy of design - and therefore each illustrates how a set of ideas can guide a set of design practices. Next week we'll go to Samara to see Frank Lloyd Wright's "philosophy in action".

We assigned these on Wednesday (Andrew we put you in the human-centered group - I think). You only read the 2 papers for your group (not all 6-yikes) and the 1 short paper by Sanders.

In your first group - discuss - and be prepared to teach others:

  • What is X (sustainable, participatory, human-centered design)?
  • How does this idea influence design activity (the designer, the design, the process)?
  • How does this idea fit within the concept maps we did last week? Or more broadly how does it fit in your world?

Also - the sustainable design group is "missing" a paper - I'll send it out on email to all.


AD said...

Since Project Runway comes up about every other week, I thought I would share this article:

Kevin said...

Some thoughts on the sustainable readings:

The readings clearly defined different perspectives of sustainable design and the necessary skills, but lacked any discussion of the relationships between the three fundamental tenets of sustainability: societal, economic, and environmental costs/benefits. In most designs, there is a trade-off between doing what is best for the economy, society, and environment (e.g., not relocating a wetland would benefit the environment but would result in the loss of economic development and vice versa). The Mann paper, however, seemed to take the approach that there is always one possible optimal, zero-impact design. Yet, while ‘zero-impact’ may be achieved for one tenet of sustainability, another will likely suffer. Therefore, I believe a more thorough approach to the sustainable design philosophy would involve the presentation of some constraints. Personally, I think sustainable design is better understood as a ‘three-legged stool’, where each leg is one of the fundamental tenets; when one leg is extended or shortened, an imbalance occurs. Designers may give more weight to one of the stool legs but the stool better still be able to stand up at the end of the design.

tforin said...

After reading Norman, I'm really curious as to whether engineering students think about balance beauty with function. I'd like to think that freshmen would be preoccupied with function and that seniors would attempt to create a balance. My question is this though, where does the shift in design thinking take place? Are we always aware of beauty and function? If so why isn't a balance achieved everytime we design? I'd like to think that our appreciation for beautiful designs grows because of our willingness to be unique. My head is swimming with more questions, but I'd really like to see what everyone else thinks of this.

Bethany Fralick said...

I thought the concept mapping activity was interesting last week. I always like to see other people's ideas of design, but the mapping brought a new level to. I think it was a good exposure to design language. I was able to understand how my ideas could be translated though different word choices and coincide with others. This activity really gave me some "hmmmmm, intersting" moments.

Laura said...

Interesting Project Runway article... if only grad school also involved fashion shows and Tim Gunn. I think it would be a lot more enjoyable if it did. Make it work.

I also liked the concept mapping activity last week. Just when we think we can make a semi-concrete (albeit really long) list of what design is, my world is turned upside down. I think the motto for this class should definitely be "just when you think you know... you have no idea."

Eric Holt Design said...

While reading the Mann paper and all the different approaches to sustainable design, I realized that I have a very hard time not thinking about design through the frame of residential design. I assume it is because what I can relate to by experience. If I cannot relate it back to my frame of thinking, it is very hard for me to understand or connect with what the author is saying.

michihcim said...

The designers that Mann inverviewed seemed to be in a couple of disciplines (mining, housing....). (He actually did not specify what his interviewee did in the paper.) We talked about that design is context-based, I wonder if the type of design people do can influence how they experience sustainablity.

Robin said...

Glad the concept map activity worked for folks :)

Some quick comments: the readings for this week were really all about particular "frames" for designing - frames being a guided philosophy that impacts the way people approach design and formulate design problems. While sometimes these differences are disciplinary, they aren't always. In many ways some of these philosophies transcend disciplinary lines...