U. Topcu

Istanbul Bahcesehir University (TURKEY)
Architectural Design education is a complex field in which several approaches, conventions and clichés exist. Design studios in schools of architecture are guided by different approaches all seeking to improve the practice of architecture through better education. First Year Design Studio is often considered as an environment where students first encounter a new language about design in general and architecture in specific. The term design carries with it a connotation that opens to the future. Teaching design will be successful to the extent that it can predict the needs of tomorrow. Students encounter with different educators all aiming at giving the best skills for a better practice.

The architects world is 3D. One of the skills that the student of architecture has to develop is learning to manipulate spaces after thoughtfully making them to suit for so called human activities. The architect’s language is basically drawing, a 2D phenomenon. Most of the time he must imagine the outcome of his design in 3D. Therefore he must develop tools for himself not only to understand this dichotomy but also to evaluate it in terms of the people that will experience it. All designs are made at a smaller scale than the original. Even models follow this rule. Designs made on paper carry the limitations of being a diagram and a picture. So, it is not wrong to say that architectural education is built upon analogical reality. The student is given a problem and asked to pretend that it is real. The student and his critiques apply their experience to try to get enough of an insight as to what the real thing will be. Building models and making schematic perspectives seem to be the only means of being able to study this phenomenon.

This paper will discuss an experimental program done in the First Year Design Studio, at Istanbul Bahcesehir University, Faculty of Architecture and Design. The aim of this study was to provide a debate to discuss the means and tools to enrich Design Education. In the Summer School of 2010-2011, First Year “Design Studies I Course” students were encouraged to prove that “Sustainable Design is not a Dream”. Most of the students were acquainted with the C2C / Cradle to Cradle Initiative whose motto is “Everything can be recycled”. What could be better than building up reality in the studio by using recycled materials? The studio looked large enough for the intended design fulfilling the program of “Spatial Organization” by means of “Space in Space Project”. Skillful young hands rolled the used newspapers into paper sticks of various lengths and diameters. For them this was a way of answering the perennial question of the exact nature of the relationship between design and making. The group instructed by the author is taken as a case study and fulcrum for the debate.