Design dialogues : ambiguity of “design” within Architectural Studio

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Pretty, Annabel
McPherson, Peter
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
live build projects
studio praxis
design thinking
collaborative projects
Unitec courses
architecture education
Christchurch (N.Z.)
Christchurch 2010-2011 earthquakes
Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA)
design processes
New Zealand
Pretty, A., McPherson, P. (2017). Design dialogues. Ambiguity of “Design” within Architectural Studio. The Journal of Public Space, 2(3), Special Issue, 53-62, DOI: 10.5204/jps.v2i3.113
The ambiguous nature of the word “design” offers up a complex dialectic dialogue for the architectural studio lecturers to impart to their students. Discussing the “design”, more commonly referred to as the programme or scheme, is quite a different beast to the process or design methodologies the students use to create an architectural proposition or “design”. Clarity around this notion of design as both the process, in being design-led, and also as the end result, becomes a necessary task for studio lecturers to inculcate into the student body. This paper aims to navigate through the mire/path of the design methodologies as adopted within architecture studio teaching at second year level within the Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Unitec Department of Architecture – by way of using the tried and tested notions of First Insight / Empathy, Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Verification, with the anticipation that these are the essential tools with which to interface teaching and practice, within the context of a “live build project”. Three years’ worth of case studies of large scale Interdisciplinary and collaborative “live build projects” in Christchurch in conjunction with the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA) are used to demonstrate and investigate the heuristic design processes that are an integral part of a prospective architect’s arsenal of skills. These case studies offered a complex window of tasks, not least that the students were designing in Auckland 1000 km away from the Christchurch sites, and each year posed a different set of problems and clients-related issues. Luxcity 2012 / Canterbury Tales 2013 / CityUps 2014 were the students’ responses to FESTA’s call to rejuvenate the city centre after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and all of which were assembled only for a 24-hour period over Labour Day Weekend.
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DOI: 10.5204/jps.v2i3.113
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