[Nov 20, 2015] Studio Reimagines Design Education in Sydney
Matthew Teismann, lecturer of interior and spatial design and partner of LIONarchitecture, recently completed the instruction of a design studio at the University of Technology Sydney. Teismann's students, nineteen in total, were given the task to critically interrogate the pedagogical direction of architecture and design schools in the twenty-first century.
The students of Teismann’s studio presented their schemes on Friday November 6, 2015 to a committee of four jury members. The work each student presented included individual designs for a design school in Sydney, which included process work from conceptual design, design development, and final design presentations. Moreover, their work was exhibited at the 2015 Interior and Spatial Design Graduation Show on November 11th at Pier2/3 to an estimated 1,200 guests.
This work is part of a larger investigation that LIONarchitecture has been undertaking over the last six months to re-imagine how design education can holistically respond to and anticipate the hybridization of society as described by Bruno Latour and outlined here. Students involved in the studio are as follows:
Gomez, Erika Cerquera
Viet, A. Le
At the beginning of the 21st century, the ways in which we understand, produce and communicate knowledge are undergoing fundamental changes. This studio addresses the ways in which spatial organisation reflects these changes that are inextricably linked to technological innovation and challenges the way in which spatial practices relate to the production of knowledge.
Five architectural typologies, the library, the research institute, the laboratory, the museum, and the design museum, are moving toward a transgression of typological boundaries and towards performative conditions of living and working. This design studio features and challenges the technological, cultural and social aspects that are innately related to the localisation of knowledge production, communication and dissemination.
Educational institutions are at a precipice between analog and digital techniques of instruction. Following early twenty-first century trends, the next 10-20 years are expected to exhibit a complete revolution in the dissemination and acquisition of knowledge through computation and cyber methods. With technologies such as the internet, 3-d visualizations, and holographic representation, the ‘physical object’ is on the verge of being dethroned. Beginning with the pedagogy of the Bauhaus, this studio interrogates the way a re-imagined design school can interface with emerging digital technologies to assimilate with, and produce new means of technological knowledge.
The Centre for Advanced Design Studies (CADS) is a hybrid institution that focuses on speculative potentials of built and cyber environments: architecture, film, and graphic design. Re-imagining an existing building site in Sydney, the spaces will activate collaboration between distinct disciplines through advanced technological means: cnc-robotic milling, nanotechnology, and biomaterial production. We examined how cyber-interface can influence spaces of instruction, especially lecture and studio environments. We asked questions like how does a digital environment relate to physical space? Is physical space any longer necessary? How can emerging technologies of fabrication foster an understanding and communication of new knowledge beyond the traditional learning environment?
CADS is to be located in the Griffith’s Tea building at 46-52 Wentworth Avenue in Surry Hills. The building is an abandoned warehouse set to undergo renovations into loft-style apartments. Our task was to propose a design school that will forego its transformation into housing:
"The 100-year history of the Griffiths teas building is one that maps closely to the rich and varied history of Surry hills itself – from boom to bust and all the way back again. Griffiths Bros, founded by James and John Griffiths in Melbourne in 1879, was one of the first tea, coffee and cocoa distributors in Australia – and, for much of its history, the largest. In its heyday the Griffiths Bros name literally covered the east coast of Australia, famous for the signs running along the rail line between Melbourne and Sydney that informed travelers how far it was to their next cup of Griffiths Tea." (according to the Griffith’s Tea Webiste)
The Design Provocation:
The design project itself was an interdisciplinary design school where traditional barriers between disciplines are destroyed. Each student’s design school proposal was expected to emphasize the copious aspects of design production, including designers of the built environment (architects, interior designers, urban designers), filmographers, and applied arts (graphic designers, product design and development). What about an interdisciplinary design school can create a more productive learning environment? How can these different groups coalesce to imbibe creative space?
To begin the semester each student developed a curriculum that includes and interweaves the respective groups (listed above) into the context of 21st century design education in Australia and the globe. The student was in charge of diagraming, mapping, and presenting this curriculum for their speculative project. This curriculum was then used to structure the spatial and architectural formation of their project, and informed the development of the full project brief through group charrette.
Each student was expected to master the development of the particular typology of a design school through the development of innovative environments, spatial relationships, and re-imagined curricula. Each student was responsible for a comprehensive project that may – in the end – be unconventional, dangerously forward-looking, yet altogether rooted in the shared knowledge of human education and development. They considered how people actual use spaces, but even more so, the implications resultant from the use of these spaces. By the end of the semester, it was expected that each student had developed a stance on the following question: if design education follows the same trends that other educational institutions are moving toward (in particular cyber-instruction), what are the future implications on physical space when education is digitized?