Evolution of Design, Thought Process, and Philosophy

"It's very difficult to generalize. Everyone's adventure is original."

This quarter has definitely been one hell of a ride. My initial goal entering this studio was “hey let’s learn some cool graphic tips and tricks, and finally learn how to use the laser cutter,” oh and of course the thought of bettering my design approach. But before I could even “better” something so generalized as the term “design approach,” I think there is a much bigger, much more important question that comes to mind. What defines a design approach? Is it just making some pretty shapes and stuffing the assigned program in? Or is it truly becoming a first-person participant within this imaginary, but almost too real world that you are trying to create?

Mark had a very interesting approach to subtly introducing us into his world of studio. “Let’s play some games, look at some tessellations, oh and then make our own games!” I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around how these activities could possibly pertain to architecture. But as we delved deeper into this adventure, I saw what Mark was trying to do. I learned that design did not necessarily have to involve a literal building, for it could be something as simple as a shift in environment/atmosphere, or an additional catalyst of change that piques the senses. We focused our first 4 weeks on designing from the inside-out, getting to know the genetic code of our design intent, before letting it take a physical form.

The goal of our project was/is to create a school that focuses its attention on the needs of the students and their success, through a curriculum that involves open source learning, experimentation with the hands, mind, and imagination, as well as creating an environment that fosters community, love, and excitement for what is to come. Before we could create such a school however, we had many discussions regarding the philosophy behind modern-day schools and their methods of teaching.

My main problem with the modern-day learning curriculum is how little it offers to students. Some may believe that the only motivated students in high school, are those who want to go to college, but what if everyone is motivated and wanting go the extra mile with their lives but are simply being deprived of the opportunities? We students have been around standard math, humanities, and physical education classes all of our lives, learning and relearning the Civil war for the hundredth time, never being exposed to any skills or disciplines we would have to acquire in the”real world.” So when college applications come around and many don’t apply or are undecided, can we really blame these people? How is a student who has been in the same learning dynamic from preschool supposed to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives? Especially since we were forced to raise our hands and ask for permission to perform the simple human task of going to the bathroom, but are then forced to make a decision that will forever affect the rest of our lives? I believe our learning curriculum as a whole, as a nation, would operate successfully, and yield more open-minded, brilliant individuals if we simply gave them the opportunity to discover what they like or don’t like (i.e. adding wood shops, art studios, musical centers, etc.). If we students are the future, then how are we to succeed if we are simply treated as variables inputted into an equation, when really we should be the ones creating, solving, andĀ delving deeper into these equations?

Want some more background?

Check out the Process!