DesignerLearner, Acting on the Uncertainty

Authors: Toni Kauppila

The complexity of contemporary world changes the paradigm of design conventions. To educate practitioners to act in such a world requires rethinking of our pedagogical being. This paper looks at the parallels of design processes, teaching of design and the becoming spaces of learning in the context of higher design education.‘How to develop contemporary design education?’ The design and architectural practices are in the state of disruption; the tasks we are facing now are more complex than ever. The challenges that we are confronting require a holistic understanding of things and are by their nature collaborative (Thackara, 2005). Thus this age of supercomplexity also challenges the higher education to seek for new approaches in teaching. Beyond merely training skills and knowledge, another set of dispositions is needed (Barnett 2004). The design practices are more and more system orientated and collective by their nature.The presented research is practice-based in twofold where pedagogical and design work merge. The author is engaged both in his own collaborative architectural work and teaching spatial design at the MA level. The architectural agenda is to recognise spaces as dynamic conditions for social interaction. The pedagogical framework in the concurrent courses strive for conditions of encountering; supporting risk-taking in tackling the wicked problems at systems level. The work is about these parallel activities, how the creative processes can be articulated cross discipline boundaries to challenge us in the seeking of the unknown both as creators and learners.
The research makes a hypothesis to elaborate the architectural design methods by adapting techniques from theatre and dance that have more integrated relationship between space, time and action. These various notational and descriptive tools of choreography and dramaturgy are explored as means of broadening the architect’s palette. The choreography operates as creator and organiser of movement of objects in space and time. Similarly in theatre actions and events are directed and orchestrated in a spatial context. Here the architecture’s role is paralleled as moderator for multidimensional spatial effects interacting with the human actions. Beyond the functionalistic tradition the research pursues the immediate and divers use of space by recognizing the uncertainty and the unexpected occupation.

The dialogue between higher education pedagogy and collaborative design work can both gain greatly while confronting the contemporary challenges. To appreciate design as a form of pedagogy and vice a versa to pursue the education as a creative process enables us to approach the new. The pedagogical space of uncertainty provokes the architectural space of becoming.

Posted Sep-2013

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