J. Tymkiewicz

Silesian University of Technology (POLAND)
Innovativeness is one of the most important challenges facing architecture - modern science, research, design practice. Team work is nowadays considered as the most effective manner of arriving at innovative solutions. Students who have been on scholarship under the framework of ERASMUS had the opportunity of participating in team projects, which, unfortunately is still not a popular approach to design in Poland, both during the courses of study and in architectural practice. Under the Polish conditions there is still a prevailing myth of an architect as a solitary creator, an artist, a visionary who should, in some unspecified time, have an innovative brainwave. Needless to say, such approach is not always possible and effective.

What should be done to arrive, under fixed time frames at an innovative solution? Are there any recognized methods that could support the brainstorming process which is involved in creativity? These two questions became the grounds for the concept of implementing Design Thinking to teaching classes at the Faculty of Architecture, Silesian University of Technology, in Gliwice (Poland).

Design Thinking is one of the most popular methods of design problem solving activity, derived from design offices at manufacturing enterprises. The term was coined by Tim Brown but some elements of the method had been intuitively used by design architects for many years. The method is under continuous development at Stanford University, both in terms of research and teaching activities. It consists of stages that enable a methodical team “working out” of an innovative solution in specified time frames. The stages are: formulation of the task, users’ needs investigation, creation of a multi-disciplinary team, brainstorming, prototyping, implementation of best ideas, testing.

The purpose of the initiative was to check the efficiency of Design Thinking in classes run at the Faculty of Architecture, to generate innovation ideas and make students acquainted with this important and popular problem - solving method (didactics) as well as to experience Design Thinking as such.

The scope of the paper is to sum up the architectural process based on Design Thinking, conducted by the author during university classes, with a focus to generate innovative solutions concerning the organization of the space of individual work places for young architects. The project included the procedures strictly connected with Design Thinking, but also some modifications and supplementary activities related to the specific teaching classes under the syllabus.

The paper presents a description of the classes, practical conclusions and guidelines concerning the strengths and weaknesses of implementing Design Thinking to the teaching practice in architecture, as well as an indication of the efficiency of individual work as contrasted with team work under a conceptual architectural design realized under the Polish conditions.