Category archives: Design Theory

Discussions of Design Epistemology or more generally thoughts about design. RSS

Scotland Street School by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

As mentioned a long time ago in the midst of some speculation; we were able to tour the Scotland Street School while in Glasgow.  This was Mackintosh's last built work (during his life).  I've uploaded our photos from the School to a Picasa album so that people wanting a reference to what's being discussed can see the building.

Continue reading

Of Design release 1.0a1

As regular readers will know, I've been working (slowly) on a rewrite of my BIS Thesis in Design Epistemology.  The original thesis was huge, covering way more material than anyone should attempt to cover in one thesis, and as a result it was rather cursory in its coverage of most of the areas on which it touched.  It was also written as a "design thesis", that is, as a designed work (mostly short stories) rather than a prosaic paper.

The revised thesis is far more prosaic and far more straightforward.  It's also turning out to be far longer ...

Continue reading

Need to rustle up some readers...

I'm going to have to find myself someone to act as reader for the thesis rewrite.  Jacinta helped enormously when I was writing the original, as she constantly demanded that I explain the details I was assuming other people understood.  Should try to find some Architecture students to review and challenge me on it.  Maybe I can borrow some from Waterloo, or maybe I could find someone at OCAD, Toronto or Ryerson for face-to-face discussions.

Continue reading

Backdoors in Academia...

Working some of the outline points on critique into the thesis.

I've been playing idly with how to get back into academia.  Dumb thoughts that keep coming up:

  • convince some design school to use my (assumed finished) thesis as an introduction for first-year students, point at that and see if some school would let me teach their students directly :) , obviously would have to really get cracking on *finishing* it, and I'd likely have to set up a CMS site somewhere to include the "Treasure Chests" part of the original thesis (and let other people work on it), maybe ...

Continue reading

Why Play?

Human beings are playful creatures.  If we are to understand human design and intention we must understand the process of play.  The professional designer is in some way paid to retain the plasticity and playfulness of the childlike mind, to be able to play with ideas and forms in ways that most adults have long forgotten, but for which they long.

Professional designers normally have to work at being playful, at moving from being sober and serious to being able to explore the space of ideas around a project.  Having achieved playfulness (delight), of course, the professional designer then also ...

Continue reading

Writing is slow...

I got about 4 hours of writing in today.  You'd think that would be a huge amount of material, yet it's just a few paragraphs here and there and some editing.  I've been going through the original outline looking for "lost points" that need to be covered.  Quite a few of them even in just the sections covered so far, and there's a lot of sections in the original.

I finally gave up on getting en-CA support in OpenOffice and switched to en-UK so that I can at least see spelling errors as I type.  Why ...

Continue reading

Roughing in the Play in Design section

My point-form outline for my 1997 thesis was 30 pages of single-spaced 10pt text.  It's somewhat daunting going through it and picking out which pieces need to be in a document for first-year students.  For tonight I dropped in the "Play in Design" section as a fairly quick rough draft.  I figure it eventually deserves a couple of serious articles worth of material (maybe one per type of play.  I also omitted most of the material on the use of play as a designer's tool (as distinct from play in designed works).

The updated rough draft (PDF) is ...

Continue reading

"What I wish someone had given me 16 years ago..."

So I sat down this evening and did what I was supposed to do on Monday, namely look at my thesis and work out how to finish it in a reasonable period of time.  Very exciting.  It's been a long time since I worked on the ideas, and as I read through the work so far I can't help but think how much I wish I'd had this thing when I started Architecture 16 years ago.

There's so much to write, but I think the formulation is right.  I'm not trying to write a textbook ...

Continue reading

Thesis Ten Years Later

It's been a little over ten years since I finished my thesis.  Tonight, in a bid to get rid of one of the boxes sitting in the living room I went through all the old papers.  It was interesting as a mental process.  Ten years ago I obsessed about how to communicate the ideas as efficiently as possible, how to cram all 200-odd "schools" into a single "experience" and as a result created an impenetrable mass that asked the reader to read between every line.

I threw out all of the "how to tell it" notes.  I also threw ...

Continue reading