Design process: Transfer and transformation

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Wagner, Cesar
Archbold, Richard
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
design education
Brazilian modernism
building adaptation
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Wagner, C. & Archbold, R. (2010). Design process: Transfer and transformation. In G. Forsyth (Ed.). Proceedings of ConnectED 2010 - 2nd International Conference on Design Education, Sydney. Retrieved from
This paper is drawn from research into the learning process provided by a design studio exercise where students are asked to design an extension for an iconic modernist building in Brazil. The design problem becomes an exercise in appropriate contextual response, not just to the specific site location, and local culture, but also to the architectural language and function of an existing modernist building. The Modern movement saw in Brazil not just the rising of a talented group of young architects, committed to the design and aesthetics of the new movement, but also the development of a distinctive and unique architectural language. From the 1920s onwards the possibility for the legitimacy of any architectural work appeared to be found in the scope of the object and its specific situation, and no longer in some previous classical order. This is evidence, in the case of Brazil, of the importance attributed to the locality in pre-Brasília architecture and on the healthy relationship between form and technique. Since 2007, the Brazil Studio design course at the Department of Architecture at Unitec New Zealand, has challenged students with ideas of adaptation, transformation, and appropriate responses to strong existing contexts. This paper investigates the learning process of transfer of knowledge through the analysis and transformation of a modernist masterpiece.
University of New South Wales
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Cesar Wagner and Richard Archbold
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