Design Learning Environments

Collaborators: Ellen Yi-Luen Do, Ken Camarata

Six articles reflecting on experience teaching tangible interaction and computational design:

2009 Making computationally embedded things demands cross-disciplinary creativity, and creative designers must master many materials and methods. The Studio-Laboratory workspace is essential for learning to engage in such creative endeavors. We encourage our students to define problem statements and decide what to design, to encourage tinkering, design and the play instinct. We want to build methods and tools that can open new design spaces. We reflect on characteristics of learning environment for design and patterns for creative engagement, using our experience as teachers of computational design and student projects to reflect and support the arguments.

2007 We have, with our students, engaged in cross-disciplinary research in design. We describe the parameters and principles that we find helpful in organizing and conducting this kind of work. A variety of projects developed in our group illustrate these parameters and principles. Our group focuses on making and we have come to see creativity as grounded in the ability to make things.

2002 Physical Computing Studio: Design of computationally enhanced objects and places is an attractive and motivating activity that requires multidisciplinary learning and cooperation: it attracts computer scientists and engineers as well as architects, musicians, and artists. Students in our Physical Computing class explore this topic in a collaborative multidisciplinary environment. They learn to integrate design work in digital, analog, and mechanical domains involving sensors, software, and physical actuators as well as how to work together with team members from different disciplines.

2003 We describe a studio that explores interfaces for computationally enhanced artifacts and environments. The studio is designed as a traditional architectural design studio, fostering creative thinking and encouraging hands-on learning. It brings students from art, music, architecture, computer science, and engineering together into teams to design and build physical computing projects. The team’s unusual mix of knowledge and experience allows for creative solutions. As a result, the studio has become a test bed for new and interesting ideas.

1999 Digital media are transforming the practice and teaching of architecture. This article outlines various ways to integrate computation and digital media into design teaching. It describes six alternative models for ‘digital design studios’. Each  model has been explored in teaching practice to varying degrees and at different schools. This article locates these different approaches and, in a preliminary fashion, organizes efforts to employ digital media in design studio education.
1994 A successful effort to incorporate computing in a school of architecture and planning must satisfy varying student objectives and encompass a range of computing roles. This article reviews these roles and presents a case study of computing at the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Three categories of instruction make up the curriculum: Tool-using courses teach specific applications, tool-building courses focus on developing new design software, and design theory and methods courses provide rationale for specific computational approaches.

[1] 2009 Educating the New Makers: Cross-disciplinary creativity, M.D. Gross, and Do, E Y-L. Leonardo 42(3) (June 2009). [pdf]
[2] 2007 Environments for Creativity – A Lab for Making Things, Gross, M.D. and Do, E. Y-L. Proceedings, ACM SIGCHI Creativity and Cognition 2007, pp. 27-36
[3] 2003 A Physical Computing Studio: Exploring Computational Artifacts and Environments, K Camarata, M Gross, E Y-L Do International Journal Architectural Computing 1(2):169-190. [pdf]
[4] 2002 Physical Computing: A Design Studio Bridging Art and Engineering, Ken Camarata, Mark D. Gross, Ellen Yi-Luen Do, Proc. Int’l Conf. of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2002 (Seattle, WA) pp. 520-521. [pdf]
[5] 1999 Integrating Digital Media in Design Studio: Six Paradigms, Gross, M.D. and E. Do., Proc. American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) National Conference ’99, pp. 144-148. [pdf]
[6] 1994 Roles for Computing in Schools of Architecture and Planning, Gross, M.D., Journal of Architectural Education, 48(1):56-64.