About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 466-475
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain

TO MAKE BY MAKING STRANGE: NO PLAN

A. Pitt

Wentworth Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
The design process is so prescriptive in the undergraduate years of an architectural education that it is necessary at the beginning of graduate studies to open other creative pathways. This paper argues that defamiliarization of the typical process in the architectural studio boosts the creativity of beginning graduate students. That which was familiar (the typical prescriptive process in an undergraduate architectural studio) is no longer so, and has become strange, or defamiliarized in the studio. The detour from the established methods of inquiry is also discussed as a detournement.

The studio the paper discusses is the graduate level Special Topics Studio: Lisbon and Porto from the fall of 2011. The studio occurred in the first semester of the graduate program and precedes thesis studio. This studio began the semester with ten days of travel in Portugal, focusing on Lisbon and Porto as the main cities of study. During the travel portion students became tourists on a tour. Just as a tourist is somewhat uneasy in a strange environment, so was the student in Lisbon and Porto. They were surrounded by a strangeness that remained with them upon their return to Boston. Here they engaged in the studio’s approach to design: the use of ‘no plan’. Section was moved to the beginning of the student’s design process and there was no plan investigation. The work in section was derived from and motivated by explorations of the two urban centers, Lisbon and Porto, both hilly and steep. First we studied section at the scale of the urban landscape and then at the scale of buildings. This approach to design was a de-tour from the typical one which begins with plan. As the semester continued, not only was there ‘no plan’ in terms of use of orthographic plans, but also there was ‘no plan’ in terms of the methods each student used. Each student was encouraged to develop his own other methods of inquiry aside from plan investigation, and starting anew without plan, the students became open to design without preconception. The paper discusses these literary theories of defamiliarization and detournement and their use in this architectural studio. Throughout the semester these theories were built upon forming new and strange strategies for the design studio. The strategies and methods used are included, illustrating the creativity that resulted from these means.
@InProceedings{PITT2012TOM,
author = {Pitt, A.},
title = {TO MAKE BY MAKING STRANGE: NO PLAN},
series = {5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-0763-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {19-21 November, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {466-475}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Pitt
TI - TO MAKE BY MAKING STRANGE: NO PLAN
SN - 978-84-616-0763-1/2340-1095
PY - 2012
Y1 - 19-21 November, 2012
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2012 Proceedings
SP - 466
EP - 475
ER -
A. Pitt (2012) TO MAKE BY MAKING STRANGE: NO PLAN, ICERI2012 Proceedings, pp. 466-475.
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