Understanding Through Making

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Lindley, Julian; Adams, Richard; Beaufoy, John; McGonigal, Stephen
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Section: Learning Spaces
Page(s): 172-177
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


This paper’s core theme is incorporating an empirical approach in the understanding of physical value(s) within Product Design (PD). It is a reaction too, and an acknowledgement of the changing nature of both the students previous experiences and the value of design to the modern world. With the former, some applicants lack the breadth of basic skills in drawing, making and experimentation. Indeed many lack a curiosity which is natural to design. This is in part due to the diminishing number of applicants from Foundation Courses in Art and Design (United Kingdom). These pre-degree courses encourage experimentation and play in understanding materials and structures. Another observation is that design has progressed beyond the production of artefacts to a process of problem identification and solving [1]. In this context Sustainability, Brand and Human Centred Design are all common themes within design curricula. However focusing on these in an already congested curriculum has left some of the basic skills and investigations lacking in students vocabulary and skills within design. This paper outlines a way in which an understanding of structures and objects can be achieved. Two projects are cited, firstly a project which gets students to think with their hands and make quickly. The second project builds on this experience with a mechanical design challenge, that of an Automata. The combination of these projects equips students with a preliminary understanding of construction, mechanics, materials and aesthetics. This is a starting point for understanding the physicality of artefacts underpinning PD Education.

Keywords: Making, Playing, Mechanics, Re-use, Structure


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