Parti Boxes and Palimpsests

Leveraging history in teaching design principles


  • Kristin Barry Ball State University


While history is an integral component of design education, it is often divorced from the greater context of the architectural design studio due to the lack of connection between the material and modern instruction. With a variety of students entering the design professions, leveraging students’ comprehensive experiences and proficiencies together with a historical dialogue helps to engage them in the study of history as precedent and process. This practice redefines the purpose and definition of historical concepts and relationship to “time,” while reinforcing introductory studio principles. Innovative teaching of history using studio techniques, such as diagramming and analysis, presents the opportunity to [re]conceptualize design history curriculum in a way that engages and encourages students to understand the historical record as integral to the design process.