Instilling Productive Processes for Architectural Design
In architectural design education, emphasis is often placed too heavily on the final product – the finished drawings and models of a student’s design proposal – resulting in diminished focus on productive design process techniques. Students are too often left to their own devices regarding their manners and methods of developmental design work. Effective process techniques are best instilled early in a student’s education, such that a strong work ethic is established prior to advanced design studio courses. In the majority of professional programs in architecture, a student’s initial exposure to design process techniques occurs in introductory courses in architectural graphics. In these courses architecture students begin to develop their graphic communication skills, and instructors have their first and most meaningful opportunity to instill productive processes for developing architectural design projects. This paper describes curricular revisions to an existing introductory course in architectural graphics, with examples of student work. The revisions are intended to strengthen an emphasis on the fundamental knowledge and skills related to effective graphic communication. They are also intended to establish an overarching approach to the work students will be required to do in project-oriented design studios. This work necessitates a strong focus on the development of ideas via graphic means, and the repeated re-working of fledgling graphic representations of architectural space, structure, analysis, etc. It also requires a type of multi-tasking, where the designer is developing several drawing types at once. To achieve these pedagogical goals, issues related to scheduling, assignment structure, and grading values have been redesigned, with a new emphasis placed on several interrelated curricular strategies. For example, students create a draft version of every assignment, and the draft is worth as much as the final drawing, in terms of graded points, thus instilling in students the value of a productive process for architectural design.
Keywords: Architectural Design Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Graphic Communication, Productive Process
Prof. Matthew Brehm
Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture and Interior Design, University of Idaho