Thursday, September 10, 2015

CONCEPT: The what, why, and how?

In my studio courses, when communicating design concepts, I ask my students to think about the WHAT?, WHY?, and HOW?  If students can both intellectually explore, and then communicate the answers to these three questions, they will be well on their way to a project with a solid design concept.

WHAT?  What is the big idea?  What is the thesis?  What are you doing? What are you trying to accomplish? What is your design an exploration of?

This is often the easiest of the three for students to address.  Most of the time, I find that my students are able to tell me what they are trying to accomplish in their work.

WHY?  Why is this exploration necessary, relevant, or important to explore? 

This is a little bit trickier, as not all concepts are necessarily worthy ideas.  As a designer, communicating what you are doing is one thing, but understanding why it matters in another.  This requires students to question their own ideas, and challenge their initial assumptions, on their way to an understanding of why the design exploration is worthwhile.

HOW?  How is this being explored, specifically, through your work?  How does the design address the concept?  How do you attempt to explore the concept through the design moves you have made?

In other words, HOW does the concept drive the design decisions of the project?

From 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick