I found it odd, that architecture students were required to take 150+ credit hours to graduate with a professional architecture degree and not a single credit hour required students to conceptualize, design develop, construction document, fabricate and/or use a project from start to finish. The ultimate goal of most architects is to build. Oddly, students might never build as part of the educational “process”, that leads to the “product” we call architecture graduates.
For 26 years I have been fabricating site specific functional objects in my architectural practice. For the past 10 years, I have been exploring the possibility that “making” is as important as “thinking” and “drawing”. I have been documenting the historic tradition of “craft” in schools and education. I have been researching neurological/cognitive studies that support the importance of “making” in the education of an architecture student. Most importantly, for 10 years, I’ve been working alongside my students to conceptualize, develop, draw, model, mock-up and fabricate at full scale and in real materials the relationship between the human hand, body, mind, form and function.
making stuff: a neurological/cognitive argument for the experience of making in the education of an architect was originally written at the request of students from the Architecture program at the University of Detroit Mercy. Architecture students from Detroit Mercy had heard me speak about my Architecture & Furniture course and wondered whether I could make an argument on their behalf for the inclusion of a similar design and making course within their architectural curriculum. This paper originally appeared, in a slightly edited version, in Dichotomy 21: Odds a journal published by the School of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy.
My contribution to Dichotomy was a selection of observations, research and projects made by me and my students as evidence to support our thesis that physically making an idea from concept to functional object is a unique and critical experience in the education of an architecture student.
“energy bbdo is a full service creative advertising agency based in Chicago. Part of the global BBDO network - the most awarded agency network in the world for effectiveness and creativity…with a philosophy of energizing people and energizing brands demonstrating the belief that only through powerful connections with consumers can a brand thrive.”
“energy bbdo describes its mantra as “the work. the work. the work…which reflects their unwavering belief in the absence of great work, nothing else matters.”
energy bbdo liked my research on the relationship between the hand and brain in relation to the education of a young architect and asked if my research might apply to other design disciplines including advertising. I explained that yes it could and rewrote my research paper as a presentation that I delivered at energy day…“a full day where the entire company goes off-site, every department-creative, account management, strategy, finance, etc…a day crafted to be unique and invigorating for everyone involved.”