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ABOUT “On Designing”


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How to make good architecture is a highly debatable question – just as debatable, yet even more complex is the question of how to train a good architect. Cultural history, building history, statics, floor planning, construction principles, building typology and urban structures of course are subjects that can be taught as a more or less defined set of techniques and knowledge. The difficult challenge however is how to produce an individual creative will that interacts with theory to create a specific design.


The issue “On Designing” focuses on the aspect of design in teaching architecture. This core competence of architecture is a method of approach situated between the strategy of solving problems used by an engineer and the creative process of an artist. It enables the architect to cooperate with other professions in a fruitful way and to react flexibly in dynamic processes.


Both the routine of creative techniques and a universal creative urge are essential, in addition to a broad technical knowledge and a deductive system when it comes to planning decisions. The questions are: How can one learn this way of designing – and how can one teach it systematically? And is this kind of well-versed, all-round designer the final product of a faculty of architecture?


_mg_8430One possible approach in considering the question of how to teach design is to look at the necessities of the job market. Most graduates from European faculties of architecture still work in architect’s offices. The job outline however has been changing in recent years just as demography, urban development, climate, energetic demands on buildings, strategies of sales canvassing, and, in the end, the target group – society itself – have been changing. Taking all this into consideration it should be closely examined exactly which architect services are in demand, and therefore what theoretic basis and what abilities are needed, and – as a consequence – what subjects in the education of an architect need to be focussed on and what can be dropped respectively.


The issue “On Designing” will ask these questions while leaving aside market logic and instead take into account the controversial humanistic ideal of education. An instant promotion of designing and construction culture and the responsible use of resources in accordance with sustainable development seem rarely to be generating architectural product design that fits market logic. However, universities and colleges are essential factors within the social discourse on what kind of cultural production and therefore what kind of designers our society can or wants to afford. This is why the faculties of architecture that engage in research in the various fields of their profession can and should take a stand on these aforementioned questions, especially when it comes to design.


Research in the field of design is, of course, another aspect of the subject. The quality of design cannot be judged by the quantity of third party funds, because its results are not as easy to market as the results in other fields, e.g. energy efficiency or building materials. The current research on design at universities and colleges can barely be called excellent basic research as it requires a multidisciplinary approach and doesn’t fulfil the highest scientific standards. Just as the teaching of design, the research on design cannot be valued through comparison, maybe because of its lack of objective standards.


It therefore seems to be an essential necessity constantly to discuss the different standpoints on design and its materialised, sketched, and written results. The aim however cannot be to get to final findings but to examine thoroughly the quality of current design.


INSIDE “On Designing”
Photo Series “Lichtung” – Marcus Höhn relates to the beauty of daily life.
There is more of his work at www.marcus-hoehn.de.


generalist
VIEWPOINTS
Brain Accidents – Jörg Baumeister founds deliberately made mistakes as a creationist methodology.


How to Start – Karolin Bräg, Karl-Heinz Einberger, Tina Haase und Ulrich Panick present their manifesto on ‘Beginning’ in artistry.


Design: Magic, Play or Strategy? – Dagmar Jäger shows design as conduct can be structured using the example of writing poets.


Computers in the Design Phase – Reinhard König’s ten theses explain why computers in design are imperfect.


Recensions – Textbooks on Designing – Judith Reeh presents two current books on designing.


On Realities of the Architectural Profession – Katharina Tielsch’s empirical study grades the importance of designing from the professional perspective.


Thinking like a Designer – Verena von Beckerath reports on strategies of designing for other disciplines.


Architecture schools in Europe – European Schools and their doctrine.


STANDPOINTS
Architects, Stop Designing! – Oliver Elser & Andreas Hild explain their position of designing based on their doctrine at the TU Graz.


The Cottbus Experiment – Norbert Kling, Richard Knoll, Henri Praeger, Michael Tümmers & Julia Zillich draft a curriculum for designing in Cottbus.


Learning to Design – Günter Pfeifer focuses on designing in terms of emotions.
Of Masters and Students – Arne Winkelmann explains the attitude by Louis Sullivan towards his students and his architecture doctrine.


Interview – Marc Angélil & Dirk Hebel give an answer on their course at the ETH Zürich.


Master Student – Marieluise Jonas experienced the Japanese maser-student relationship and comments on it.


Interview – Meinhard von Gerkan represents his position on the re-established Academy for Architectural Culture in Hamburg.


SIDESTEP
Observations in Venice – GENERALIST records the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice.

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