This course is intended to expose students to processes of thinking required in a diverse range of disciplines that involve creative problem solving. Its focus is on the common thread of “design” that runs through fields as divergent as software design, filmmaking, entrepreneurship, engineering design, architecture, political strategy, experimental science etc. It begins by increasing students’ familiarity with creativity and its essential role in the current U. S. economy. A great deal of the semester is then spent looking at case studies where we seek to understand a specific problem and investigate the processes by which an individual or team of people came up with a creative solution.
The primary goal of this course is to help students become better designers by identifying values, principles, perspectives and ideas that can guide and inspire their design. The connection between theory and design is explored through investigation of the work of twenty or so key architects of the 20th and early 21st centuries. From that exposure to both ideas and work students are encouraged to investigate their own backgrounds and values to begin to ascertain approaches they feel strongly about as an inspiration for their own design work.
This course views architecture as a potent means of cultural expression and as an essential economic, social, technological and communication tool in any sophisticated society. It is less an architectural history course than an investigation of the role architecture plays or can play in contemporary culture. Lectures and discussion sections focus on issues and factors that influence architectural design as well as the means by which architecture helps shape attitudes and behavior. The goal of the course is to make students more aware the importance of the physical environment and to encourage them to be activists in helping to shape the built world.