The Y model, simultaneous instruction in digital fabrication and representation
Congdon, Roark Taylor
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Digital media and tools are now integral to architectural education and the design process. Nevertheless, much of the pedagogy related to digital media is grounded in, and relies upon, traditional design educational approaches. The relationship of the practice of architecture to digital technology is in constant flux. Recently, university departments of architecture have seen a greater emphasis on technology integration, and have witnessed significant upgrades in hardware and software technologies. These shifts in technologies "have game changing implications for the future of the profession" (Design Intelligence, 2013). Changes in architecture curricula to accommodate new design technologies and modes of professional practice, as well as students' time and skill limitations, make it challenging for departments of architecture to provide their students with the knowledge base necessary to address the concerns of design professionals as they move from the academic environment into professional practice. Bearing in mind the following three points: 1. It is not possible to teach the students everything they need to learn (in terms of either design or technology) while they are in school. 2. Students enter departments of architecture generally having achieved a high level of computer literacy that they assume they will be able to apply or build upon in their education (Design Intelligence, 2013) 3. Because of financial constraints, differences in geography, faculty, facilities, academic modus operandi, and whether the institution is private or public, every department of architecture has a different curriculum (Design Intelligence, 2013). We can pose the following question: In the context of design education, what should an introductory course in design computing accomplish in terms of topics, tasks, and theory? To which we may answer: Literature states that, at the end of an introductory design computing course: 1. Educators and practitioners in architecture believe students should have the ability to face and adapt to changing technology. They need to learn how to learn technology (software and hardware) in order to become competent practitioners of architecture. 2. Students should be exposed to fundamental design computing concepts that will be useful now and into the future. An introductory course should address fundamental principles and approaches to technology and design that we hypothesize will persist despite rapid changes. 3. Students should have the ability to generate and communicate ideas utilizing multiple processes (approaches) and media. 4. Students should understand, perceive, and be able to act upon existing affordances of digital tools. This thesis examines teaching methods, curricula, and pedagogical approaches that assist in achieving those goals; it reviews literature regarding the need for a course addressing the abovementioned concerns, and it summarizes case studies that have attempted to address these needs. The central effort of the thesis involves an exploration, in the form of a course, in which the author attempted to address the needs described above, via the utilization of a learning theory approach known as the "Y" model. This model proposes the acquisition and buildup of a logical progression of skills and knowledge as a foundation for students to pursue further, similar, yet possibly divergent outcomes.
- Architecture