Crafting Intimacy: Sculpting the Design Process of the Architecture Student

By Chad Schwartz.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In his book Cube, David Morrow Guthrie discusses the role of abstraction or representation as the typical means of generating design in an architectural studio. For him, these constructs remove the maker from the immediacy and intimacy of the built architectural work. In addition, when these representations are made primarily by using Building Information Modeling or Computer Aided Drafting software, students have a tendency to have a constrained process in developing their design projects because of the limited ways in which they interact with the software. These projects often have narrow scope and conceptual basis and, at worst, are only designed as the software or the student’s understanding of the software will allow. To combat this trend, the studio environment needs to be re-invigorated through the implementation of alternate strategies that allow the students to engage in the design process more intimately. As a response to these thoughts, one strategy for stimulating the architectural studio is the introduction of full-scale building materials as a primary medium for the generation of conceptual design. This approach forces the student to engage in the more intimate process of ‘critical making’ and provides a disconnect from digital representation and a focus on the realities of the built world. A study of select studio work from a recent course reflects the integration of these practices and their impact on the design process of the participating students.

Keywords: Critical Making, Making, Architecture, Intimacy, Abstraction, Representation

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.63-75. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 973.248KB).

Chad Schwartz

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, IL, USA

Chad Schwartz is an architect and educator serving in the role of assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Southern Illinois University. He has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Masters of Architecture from Arizona State University. He has taught in the design studio extensively at the undergraduate and graduate level at SIU and ASU and also teaches construction and building technology. His research is based on studying the introduction of critical making into the studio environment and the development of appropriate curricular strategies in introductory construction courses.