Design as Understanding : illustrations from an academic experiment


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Design as Understanding : illustrations from an academic experiment
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Design/Education :Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
Palat Narayanan Nipesh
Monash University, RMIT University and University of Melbourne, Australia
7th International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
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More than 50% of any city in India consists of informal settlements of which majority are slums. Only around 5% of the buildings if not less in India are designed by architects. In practice only a fraction of this 5% is studied and archived, as Amos Rapoport puts it “Architectural Theory and history have traditionally been concerned with the study of monuments. They have emphasized the work of men of genius, the unusual, the rare” and the irony is that majority of a city are “usual”. This paper questions the trend of an architect as a designer of spaces for the elite, with reference to an academic experiment conducted from January to May 2013 in three settlements across two states of India. Often studios try to emphasize on design so much that the students’ mind intuitively looks for problems and innovative ways to solve them. This problem solving attitude fails miserably in informal settlements, which majority of Indians call home. The experiment mentioned above started with the question –What if the project is not about finding a problem or suggesting a solution? What if we architects acknowledge the fact that the residents of a settlement are repositories of local knowledge which architects don’t have? The result is an extra ordinary outlook on the society as well as on the profession of architecture. The role of an architect changes from that of a designer to a much bigger facilitator of quality life and leaks beyond the boundaries of mere buildings. This paper illustrates the pedagogical learning outcome of the participatory studio process and the resultant projects. The projects which the students did with active participation of the residents clearly steer away from the normal processes and methods of analysis, so creating a foundation for architecture – UNDERSTANDING, so as to design with the ‘other 90 percent’
Architectural Education, Participatory Design, Community Design, Pedagogy
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01/05/2018 11:26
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26/01/2020 10:00
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