Questioning the Finite

Lessons in Structural Design and Adaptability for Beginning Design Students


  • Sean Burns Ball State University


Beginning design students frequently view architectural design as a process that culminates with a built structure, which is often regarded as transient and ultimately disposable after serving its original intentions. As educators, how might we effectively alter student perceptions and propose new attitudes towards the built environment, with specific attention given to structural principles and their relationship to architectural design, that question the concept of finite and encourage a thought process that is fluid, organic, and adaptable? This paper examines the work of second-year architecture students who were presented with an opportunity to think and adaptively respond to learned lessons from failure throughout the design process as part of their initial studies into structural principles and concepts.