4.273 | Fall 2001 | Graduate

Introduction to Design Inquiry

Class Log

1 Introduction/Woodland Cemetery During this class Bill distributed the syllabus and the first three assignments, and introduced the themes of the class to the students.

This was followed by a slide presentation of the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, and finally a demo of studioMIT by Janet.

2 An Object (Assignment 1) There were presentations of assignment 1 by 3 groups:

Group 1 - a white plastic bowl

Group 2 - a pair of shoes

Group 3 - the clock

3 An Object (Continued)

The class began with sharing of personal thoughts and reflections on the events of a year ago.

Bill discussed the recording of classes with the students, who agreed to allow this to happen for the benefit of the class and Bill’s research. More details on policy regarding these recordings will be issued later. They will be posted on the studioMIT website in folders corresponding to their subject.

The remaining presentations of assignment 1:
An Object was made:
Candle and holder
Wine bottles

4 Michael Reddy Reading Discussion This class was spent discussing the article ‘The Conduit Metaphor - A Case of Frame Conflict in Our Language about Language’ by Michael Reddy. Bill Porter also referred to ‘The Elements of Style’ by E. B. White as an interesting reference.
5 Infinite Corridor (Assignment 2) During the first part of the class Christianna presented her ‘object’ for assignment 1 - the mechanical pencil. Bill Porter referred to a book by Barbara Stafford on nature: Stafford, Barbara. Voyage Into Substance: Art, Science, nature, and the Illustrated Travel Account, 1760-1840. MIT Press. May, 1984.

The Infinite Corridor assignment was then discussed. Most members of the class presented their personal experiences and feelings towards the infinite corridor to begin with, which covered a wide range. Then people who had written a piece based on Jane Jacob’s text presented their work, which was discussed.

6 Infinite Corridor (Continued) Presentation and discussion on Mitchell and Durrell writings on Infinite corridor.
Norman/Bordwell/Goodman readings discussion.
7 Replication (Assignment 3) Two presentations of the ‘Replication’ assignment were made in class. The first was on the MIT chapel, by Rita, John, Alexandra and Jen. This developed into an extended class discussion about the development of the design of the building and possible processes and strategies employed by Saarinen.

The second group presented the Simmons Hall building at MIT by Holl, but there was no time for discussion before the end of class. This will take place at the start of next class.

8 Replication (Continued) Simmons Hall continued… class discussion on presentation.
Carpenter Center presentatio and discussion.
The Watch presentation

9 Field Trip and Discussion Field trip to the Exeter Library.
10 Reading a Building: The Exeter Library (Assignment 4) The ‘Reading a Building: The Exeter Library’ assignments were presented. This class the first group was Rita, Jen and Alexandra who presented a model which was first passed around then an electric light was added. Later they showed some redered CAD drawings of the model, and photos from its making.

Second Victor, Alexander and Goncalo presented their model. First it was passed around the group, then 2 candles were added in the center.

11 Reading a Building (Continued) James, Stylianos, Johanne, Keru and Sameer presented their response to the Exeter Library, which was a ‘What if’ power point show.

At the end of the class janet, Hans,Luke and Konstantinos presented their project, which was in the form of a bound book. the class spent some time examining it and trying to work it out.

12 Reading a Building (Continued) There was some further discussion of Hans, Janet, Luke and Konstantinos’ book at the start of class. This was followed by a discussion of the last part of assignment 4 - people’s individual response to the library and how it had changed or been influenced by seeing the rest of the group’s.
13 Discussion of Type (Assignment 5) Discussion of readings: vidler, argan, moneo, deQuincy
14 Silent Game See Images of the Silent Game in Resources
15 Silent Game (Continued) Each group’s results from the silent game were discussed, with first the observer, then player B then player A describing their version of events.
16 Redesigning the Game (Assignment 6) The results of this assignment were presented and enacted by the groups.
17 George Stiny The Power of Shape, guest George Stiny.
18 Takehiko Nagakura Formal Grammar presentation by Takehiko Nagakura
19 Bill Mitchell Deterministic and Evolutionary Computation in Design by Bill Mitchell.
20 Takehiko Nagakura (Assignment 7) Takehiko joined the class to hear presentations of 2 groups work for assignment 7: Victor, Sameer, Goncalo and Alexander (Kahn Goldberg house), and Janet, Luke, John and Konstantinos (Joan of Arc film clips).
21 Takehiko Nagakura (Continued)

Takehiko was in class again for the presentation of the remaining two projects for assignment 7:
James, Hans, Keru, Stylianos: Brunelleschi’s church plan.
Rita, Jen, Alexandra, Johanne: Rossi’s facade.

There was also some discussion of evolutionary design methods using algorithms, and concurrency. James gave the example of musicians who use computers as partners in the ‘design’ of their music.

22 Evolutionary Design Game (Assignment 8) With Ben Loomis:
We played 3 rounds of the game based on the evolutionary design model. The first round was a simple geometric shape, the second was ‘worms eye view’, and the third was the floor plan of Kahn’s Exeter library. Each time the right answer was found after 5 or 6 rounds.
Then Ben gave a presentation of the principles of evolutionary design, and gave out assignment 8.
23 John Gero John Gero spoke to the class about the role of genetic algorithms in design, and presented some research he had done including using Mondrian and Frank Lloyd Wright’s windows to create ‘Flondrain’ designs.
24 John Gero (Continued) No notes.
25 John Alex + Edith Ackermann The first half of the class was a presentation by John Alex on the use of computers in design. The second half was a discussion with Edith Ackermann on the readings assigned for the class.
26 Music Class During the first part of the class Bill presented an analysis of music as an example rule-based design, and played several pieces on the piano.

In the second part of the class James Tichenor made a presentation giving a brief overview of generative systems in electronic music.

27 Meaning of Meaning (Assignment 9 + 10) 3 groups presented their assignments:

Janet, Hans, James, John, Luke and Sameer with Yoko Ono inspired instructions for design.
Victor, Goncalo and Alexander with set of rules to create a shading device in a 5x5x5 cube of boxes. Jen, Rita, Johanne, Alexandra with a class exercise to interpret a Calvino piece.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2001
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes