Seeing as aesthetic experience and creative action : visual practices with shape grammars in design education
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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In the discussion of what makes a "creative" or "imaginative" design, rational concerns have come to override what we might call the "aesthetic experience" - that is, an experience in which all the senses are highly engaged, not only the mind. It has become unpopular and perhaps even politically incorrect to talk about what we feel, like, or respond to viscerally - discussions of emotion, pleasure, or delight are often seen as too subjective, qualitative or illogical, influenced by personal preference and cultural bias. This stems mainly from the age-old arguments positing a mind-body split that gives value to what is seen as "intellectual" over what is seen as personal, idiosyncratic, unquantifiable; and 'normalized" over what is seen as ambiguous, peculiar, outlying. This situation presents an enormous problem for design students. They may be told that their design needs improvement, but they do not really know the why or what's next, nor do they know how to remedy the problem. Students need tools to help them reflect on their design, advance it, interact with it, change it, then interact with the change. While modern technology has provided us with the means to cut down on laborious, energy-draining tasks of drawing and re-drawing, it has perhaps inadvertently over-simplified the design process. We have lost the steps where discovery can take place - the computer does them for us. In this dissertation, I propose one way to address the current state of the problem - especially in the hands-on practice-based design studio and project-based design courses - by employing the principles of shape grammar theory. The use of shape grammars in design education can help students grow as designers and put them back in touch with their unique and instantaneous responses to emerging designs; in other words, shape grammars can help students "feel their way" toward better designs by providing them with a set of actions that can be applied. Shape grammar rules and schemas provide students with steps, a creative framework to follow and execute, which can guide them to generate and improve their designs, while developing their aesthetic and sensory-perceptual creative understanding and insight.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Architecture: Design and Computation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, September 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. "September 2016."Includes bibliographical references (pages 123-132).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology