Designing together: A collaborative experiment in design methodology within a multi-disciplinary environment
Smith, Dianne J., Sanders, Paul S., Demirbilek, Nur, & Scott, Andrew (2005) Designing together: A collaborative experiment in design methodology within a multi-disciplinary environment. In Holt-Damant, Kathi & Sanders, Paul (Eds.) Third International Conference of the Association of Architectural Schools of Australasia (AASA), 28-30 September, Brisbane.
Through this paper we report on an opportunity to engage with the design of an Underground Educational Tourist Facility located at Charleville, Queensland for the non profit organisation, ‘Save the Bilby’. The aim of the organisation is to construct an underground display that will highlight the plight of Australia’s endangered species while concurrently educating the general community about ecosystems and their relevance to sustainable lifestyles. A student elective was developed that integrated a multi-disciplinary approach to the design problem by drawing on the diverse skills base within the University and structuring an elective programme that promoted collaboration amongst students and staff from various disciplinary backgrounds. The skills base from which the process was developed included architecture, interior design, industrial design, landscape architecture, civil engineering, education and tourism. The University contributed core knowledge and expertise, and in return, the project afforded the QUT team an opportunity to develop knowledge concerning design for arid and semi arid physical environments. Students were introduced in a hands-on manner to the concept of community service through the professional engagement of a design team in a non-hierarchical multi-disciplinary process.
Initially we will outline the background to the project and our objectives, before describing the process undertaken. Attention is given to the teaching and learning approach before discussing the outcomes of the elective. We highlight how pedagogical intentions can be undermined through other aspects of curriculum design such as context and duration of tasks. By involving multiple disciplines, some of the implicit and explicit tensions between conflicting interests or demands embedded in project work are amplified. We therefore, interrogate these issues and offer suggestions for others engaging in such projects.
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