Spaces supporting creative design work

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Cannon, David; Utriainen, Tuuli Maria
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Stanford University, USA 2: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland
Section: Best Education in Practice
Page(s): 666-671
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


Our physical and social environment — the ‘space’ we are in — clearly affects how we feel, interact, and what kinds of actions we engage in. The relationships between behaviour, mood, thinking, and space are continually studied in ergonomics, and discussed in architecture. But ergonomics focuses on relatively well-quantifiable details, and architectural writing most often concerns itself with ambitiously large subjects — whole buildings, cities, history, and sweeping abstractions. Between these two there is a need for more pragmatic, mid-scale guidance for the day-to-day design, redesign, and use of our spaces. Such guidance mustn’t rely on a surface mimicry of what exists. We need a better understanding of how a space’s various less-measurable objects and arrangements, the tangible aspects of socio-cultural environment, and so on, change the way we behave and are. For design education, such mid-scale guidance would be especially useful in the design of spaces for the activities of design itself. How should we adapt the many effective aspects of such spaces for design teams learning and working in a broader variety of cultural and intercultural settings? In this paper, the authors draw on their experiences contributing to and working in several spaces for design work and education, and on existing literature and a long heritage of similar spaces. From this, we offer a short list of guidelines, with examples, by abstracting a set of salient characteristics of effective spaces for design, that can be adapted for different needs, people, and cultures.

Keywords: Design space, creative teamwork, prototyping facilities


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