Design Gateway: Pedagogical Discussion of a Second-Year Industrial Design Studio
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Most industrial design programs focus the beginning design curriculum on the learning of core design principles. These core principles are seen as not specific to any one discipline (architecture, industrial design, interior design, etc.), but rather as fundamentals germane to all design fields. These core principles focus on the analysis of built artifact (structures, products, systems) to develop an understanding of geometry, structure and composition through looking and exploring. Students develop skills in representing, communicating and analyzing what they see and experience. These skills are nurtured in early studios. As students move into later studios, more discipline-specific knowledge and skills are integrated into their educational pedagogy. In the beginning years of design education, there is a transition from the learning of general 'core' design fundamentals to specialized principles that is inherent to their specific disciplines. As students move from abstract ideas to 'real-world' projects, they seem to have difficulty transitioning between the abstract concepts they previously learned and reality that requires application to new settings . Students perceive learned concepts as specific to a particular studio project, rather than realize that design education is a continuum of practiced principles . This presents a disconnect between knowledge transfer from one studio project to the next. The curriculum of the second-year industrial design studio at the Georgia Institute of Technology is designed to address this disconnect and help students successfully transition from the core design fundamentals to industrial design knowledge. Throughout the second year education, students engage in the making and communication of form and they do it through design exercises dealing with the fundamentals as well as knowledge base, both simultaneously and repeatedly, According to ----, a design education that offers a component of repetitive experience encourages students to be cognizant of the iterative nature of both the design process as well as design education . This paper discusses the approach, designed by the authors, evident in the sophomore-year industrial design curriculum at Georgia Tech. While emphasis is placed on rigor, exploration and articulation of concepts throughout the studio period, this approach adopts a pedagogy based on a series of modules that scaffold the introduction of new concepts with the reinforcement of previously learned ones. Individual modules follow a path of concept introduction (lecture), analysis, practice, and finally refinement. Upon completion of several modules, students engage in a 'module project' which demonstrates synthesis and realization of the learned concepts. A final semester-end design project provides for aggregation and demonstration of all subject matter learned throughout the semester. This pedagogical approach bridges the gap of disconnect between previous studios and promotes a continuous layering and practice of beginning design fundamentals.