Design Build Methodology in Experimental Education

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Hannah Dewhirst


As a pedagogical approach to formulating and executing complex spatial ideas, “design-build” describes more than the collapse of traditional industry roles, though that is a relevant basis to the point being made. The practice of “design-build” as applied to architectural studio work is also used to describe full or on-to-one scale experimentation and material research. Experimentation with effects, sensory qualities, and behaviors of materials existing fundamentally and only at full scale can be generative and active, allowing its agents to become multi-disciplinary problem solvers capable of moving through a complex and uncertain future. In line with apprentice-based learning environments like the Bauhaus and Cranbrook Academy of Art, students can be strengthened and empowered by the struggle of overcoming the physical obstacle and positioning themselves in the world through learning by doing.

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Design Build