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Design Education

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2024

Generative AI (artifical intelligence) has potential to transform education practices and will bring new challenges to the traditional pedagogy in many fields of learning. Architecture and design education is no exception. The already fast changing world of architecture with climate change, environmental issues, natural disasters, shifting human needs and requirements etc and speedy technological innovations and advancements like AI, makes adapting to the present and predicting the future a humongous task for all those in the field - academics, researchers, educators, professionals, students, policy makes etc. Teaching an architect is a responsible task. Eric J. Cesal, Design Educator and Author, explains how the AI will impact architecture and design education and profession, and what practices in the design teaching and learning process would no longer be needed in the future. He says, 'The conversation about what and how to teach is already contentious, and it must necessarily evolve with technology...However, there's another, easier conversation to have: what not to teach...in my own teaching and conversations with colleagues, there seems to be a consensus among design faculty that certain things should no longer be taught in architecture school. These anachronisms remain fixtures in most schools due to institutional and cultural inertia...AI will change that calculus. It gives us new arguments for purging some of the more ossified practices of design culture.' He further specifies following three things that are inherent to the educational process that AI will assist in getting rid of - (1) Masochism: All-nighters, self-neglect, exhaustion etc are problems that are part of architecture and design schools. Educators want to curb them and it seems difficult to bring a culture change. Ideas need to be executed, they are tested, proven and demonstrated through drawings and models. This requires efforst and hard work with strict deadlines. Mr. Cesal says, 'This may seem reasonable—at least to anyone who's been to architecture school - as long as you ignore the downstream effects. As you stay up for several nights in a row to test and prove that one brilliant idea, your creative faculties steadily decline, compromising what might have been that second or third brilliant idea...Research consistently shows that a well-rested brain is better able to generate novel ideas, solve complex problems, and think critically...As AI rapidly takes over the rote, mechanical aspects of design, humans must focus their efforts on only those things that a human can do...So tell your students to leave the studio at a reasonable hour and go home. Insist on it. Insist that they do their designs, do their best, and then go home, or go out.' (2) Fetishization of the Image: Mass media brought an image-based culture in the architecture profession. Mr. Cesal says, 'This shift can be attributed to the way mass media fragmented different types of professional success: commercial success (making money), professional success (being esteemed by one’s peers), and cultural success (being esteemed by the wider culture)...these three types of success typically follow a sequential path. However, architecture has an alternative route, which I’ll call Path B. This route subverts the conventional sequence...Through Path B, an architect can achieve cultural success by earning the esteem of their peers, even if they have limited commercial success or built projects. With sufficient professional and cultural success, one can then achieve commercial succes...some architects can win the Pritzker Prize...with a very shallow portfolio of built works, principally on the strength of their publications and theoretical work...The existence of Path B in architecture enables and encourages a fetishization of image-making...The rise of AI in architecture fundamentally challenges the viability of pursuing Path B. With AI-powered tools capable of generating stunning, novel renderings based on text prompts, the mere production of impressive architectural images no longer signifies the same level of creativity and innovation that it once did. As a result, achieving early acclaim primarily through image-making will become increasingly difficult...As image-production becomes easier, the true test of an architect’s creativity and skill will likely shift toward her or his ability to navigate the complex realities of bringing designs to life, and to navigate the changing realities of practice...AI has made making images of our ideas simpler. Let's adapt to this change by ending our collective fetishization of image-making and focusing instead on the higher-order problems of the future.' (3) Design School as Rite of Passage: The old English model of education in American universities focused on broad range of subjects and students were not particularly trained in particular field. Medicine and law became first specializations in mid-18th century. Archiecture became an educational specialization about a century later. Mr. Cesal says, 'It wasn't really until the late 19th century that American institutions, influenced by German models, began to adopt the graduate and research models we know today, along with the concept of electives and majors. In contrast to the old English model, it was designed to train individuals for a lifetime of continuous work in a specific field, beginning at the age of 18...Going through a major program does more than just teach you the technical skills necessary to execute a specific type of work: it inducts you into a tribe. You undergo shared experiences that then bond you with others in your eventual profession. However, with the rapid advancements in AI, this model may no longer be suitable for the future. As AI accelerates the pace of technological change, it becomes increasingly challenging to predict the skills and capacities that will be necessary for professional work in the coming decades. The idea of fully training someone for a profession by their early 20s, with the expectation that this education will suffice for a lifetime, seems anachronistic in a world where entire professions may become obsolete within a matter of years. To adapt to this new reality, we must restructure learning to be a continuous, lifelong process rather than a one-time experience...This new paradigm could take many forms, such as having professionals return to school for a semester every few years...The key is to recognize that the current specialization model, which was developed in an era when America still ran on steam power, may no longer be adequate for a future characterized by rapid technological change. In the field of architecture, this means re-evaluating the notion of design school as a singular rite of passage. In the future, design school won’t be something you went through. It will be a process that lasts a lifetime.' Read on...

ArchDaily: How AI Can Help Us End Design Education Anachronisms
Author: Eric J. Cesal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2023

Landscape architecture can be a fruitful career option for those that have interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and have design and creative abiities. Kona Gray, the president of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a principal at EDSA Incorporated, says, 'A lot of people take our work for granted. But everything around the buildings and between the buildings is designed by landscape architects. There's a landscape you occupy every day. Landscape architects are responsible for the stewardship and design of those spaces. A building occupies a certain space. But the landscape occupies far more.' Roxi Thoren, department head and professor of landscape architecture at Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, says, 'At The Pennsylvania State University, nearly 60 first-year students joined the major this fall...undergraduate programs are generally four to five years...at Penn State, internships aren't required but a study abroad program is. One popular destination to study cutting-edge sustainability work is Bonn, Germany. It's really amazing work with urban renewal, renovation of industrial sites, urban flooding resilience and green roofs...Landscape architecture students might tackle real-world environmental challenges such as designing for fire- or drought-prone areas, or for extreme heat. They also consider design with psychology in mind, such as creating a park where women feel safe after dark or where parents feel comfortable bringing their children.' Haley Blakeman, the associate director at The Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge), says, 'The program has about 130 undergraduate and 20 graduate students. BLA students are either direct admit or can transfer from another program. Travel has been a cornerstone of the LSU program since the 1960's. Upperclassmen are expected to attend a weeklong field trip...Coursework includes classes on design and history of design, and a technology series that focuses in part on materials and landforms. The undergraduate program takes five years and students take a semester-long paid internship during their fourth year. We find it incredibly helpful when they come back to school because they have a new skill set once they return. They understand the context of their academic work...another benefit of internships is job offers they get...I do a lot of work in coastal adaptation...Well-designed spaces bring people together. For students, the major is all about problem solving, learning how to talk to community members, and using the design skills they're trained with to come up with solutions.' U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently designated landscape architecture a STEM degree program and international students with F-1 visas whose degrees are on the STEM-designated list may be able to extend their stays in the U.S. According to the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, there are 100 landscape architecture programs offered at 74 universities around the U.S., including 47 undergraduate and 53 graduate programs. According to 2022 data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for landscape architects is about US$ 73000 per year. Read on...

US News & World Report: Consider a Major in Landscape Architecture
Author: Jennifer Seter Wagner


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2023

Machines are designed to perform tasks and solve human problems. Their capabilities range from very large/heavy work to very tiny nano-level mechanisms. French philosopher René Descartes influenced advancements in machine design and development through his ideas on human body and machines. Further progress in physics and mathematics led to the formalization of the study of Mechanical Engineering. Prof. Sudipto Mukherjee of IIT-Delhi provides details on the study of mechanical engineering and the careers that can be pursued in the field. He says, 'It is important to have a good relationship with computers early in your career. But as you seek to enhance human abilities and empower society, the first requirement is to have social skills such as interpersonal abilities and empathy. Mechanical engineering is the right choice if you are passionate about solving physical challenges faced by humans in today’s world. The knowledge needed to provide solutions will come as you progress through a solid mechanical engineering curriculum, starting from identifying needs and ending with delivering the final product.' He further explains what training is provided to those who pursue study in specific fields of mechanical engineering like machine design, industrial engineering etc. Pursuing entrepreneurship, and furthering career in management and business administration are attractive options for mechanical engineers. Prof. Mukherjee points out, 'The world of mechanical engineering is not deterministic, meaning it does not operate based on specific occurrences, It works with expected values, such as statistical means and variance...Mechanical engineering is perhaps the only engineering discipline that sees designing with failure as an integral part of the design process and recognises that it is inevitable...It is worth noting that sometimes mechanical components replace failing human joints and organs...Mechanical engineering is a good playing field for those who have empathy, an outward-looking mindset, resilience, and some mathematical skills.' Read on...

The Indian Express: From entrepreneurship to design, mechanical engineering provides multiple opportunities, writes IIT Delhi professor
Author: Sudipto Mukherjee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2023

Educators can inculcate creativity, and develop problem-solving and critical thinking among kids by introducing them to engineering and design at an early stage. This will also help them develop interest in learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects. Following hands-on mini projects that involve engineering design processes can bring desired influence needed in kids to think and approach problems and provide design solutions - (1) Understand the Engineering Design Process (Define the Problem -> Identify Constraints in the Solution -> Brainstorm Multiple Solutions -> Select the Most Promising Solution -> Develop Prototype -> Test and Evaluate the Prototype -> Iterate to Improve -> Communicate the Solution) (2) Do the Marshmallow Challenge (3) Enroll Kids in Engineering Camp (4) Design and Build a Paper Airplane Launcher (5) Create a Homemade Lava Lamp Using Household Items (6) Build a Simple Machine Using Lego Bricks (7) Create a Marble Run Using Cardboard Tubes and Other Materials (8) Popsicle stick Catapult (9) Build a Mini Solar-Powered Car Using a Small Motor and Solar Panel (10) Create a Homemade Musical Instrument Using Recycled Materials (11) Build a Wind-Powered Car 12. Create a Water Filtration System Using a Plastic Bottle and Sand (13) Design and Build a Maze Using Cardboard and Other Materials (14) Build a Simple Electric Circuit Using a Battery and Wires (15) Design and Build a Mini Greenhouse Using Recycled Materials (16) Create a Balloon-Powered Car Using Straws and a Balloon (17) Make a Snack Pulley System (18) Design and Build a Glider Using Balsa Wood and Tissue Paper (19) Create a Simple Motorized Boat Using a Small Motor and Propeller (20) Build a Simple Hovercraft Using a Balloon and a CD (21) Design and Build a Simple Robot Hand Using Straws and a String. Read on...

Teaching Expertise: 21 Engineering Design Process Activities To Engage Critical Thinkers
Author: Mike Dave Ayeni


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 mar 2023

In the world of graphic design, computers and softwares are essential tools and it is hard to imagine a creative work without them. But a hand-drawn design work by Prof. Nick Mendoza of the Oklahoma State University (OSU, USA) was selected in the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition in December. The 365: AIGA Year in Design competition, started in 1924, serves as a platform for designers, design teams and their clients to share design solutions for business and organizational challenges. Prof. Mendoza's work 'OSU Design Lecture 2021' was a poster that was created to promote visiting designer Mike Daines' guest lecture and included elements of his designs and a visual journey to the event. Prof. Mendoza says, 'As a design educator, I am humbled to know that my work is shown next to big time design studios with big time budgets; I created my design with paper, scissors and a marker.' Prof. Ting Wang-Hedges of OSU says, 'Having your work awarded from AIGA, especially winning the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition, means your work competes with other design works from renowned designers and studios.' Competition juror Clement Mok says, '[It's] an ode to hand-drawn letters. Wonderfully old-school, yet it feels very contemporary and personal. The letter scrawls are meticulously planned for legibility.' Prof. Mendoza teaches typgraphy, an art and study of arranging type to convey a message and make language legible. Prof. Pouya Jahanshahi of OSU says, '...he guides his students to mobilize principles of layout, composition, psychology and communication to produce powerful artifacts of graphic design - whether the outcome is a poster, book cover or comprehensive branding campaign.' Read on...

OSU News and Media: Graphic design professor's work recognized in international design competition
Authors: Erin Milek, Elizabeth Gosney


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 feb 2023

Industrial designers are involved in the creation and development of many products and services that humans see and use in their life. They influence and contribute in shaping the physical and virtual experiences. Dr. Liam Fennessy, associate dean for industrial design at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia), says, 'It's not just tangible products or buildings, it's programs, experiences and digital products and digital interfaces too. Some industrial designers specialize for products in a particular industry while others get involved in projects in multiple and diverse areas. Those involved in consultancy services often work in diverse projects and interdisciplinary teams. Tim Phillips, an industrial designer and owner of Tilt Industrial design, utilizes multidisciplinary approach and focuses on built environment. His team of industrial designers design large-scale, site-specific design features for architects, landscape architects or artists. Explaining the approach in designing the operable façade at UTS (University of Technology Sydney) building where industrial design process is used to achieve architectural goals, Mr. Phillips says, 'The façade delivers a specific environmental function and a unique aesthetic. This combination of impacts is at the heart of what Tilt is trying to achieve in the built environment.' Even though an undergraduate degree in industrial design is generally a basic requirement to pursue a career as industrial designer but experts explain that having diverse and broad skills and excellent communication capabilities are necessary to achieve success. Mr. Phillips says, 'A great industrial designer must be able to deliver an amazing end-user experience and an equally successful commercial project outcome.' Read on...

The Sydney Morning Herald: The people who make everything around us
Author: Sue White


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2022

Since ancient times art and design has been a part of Indian culture and society and the skill-based learning system existed where the master imparted the skills and shared his experience with his pupil, who often learned by observing and doing. In India there existed communities of design and in most cases the skill got passed as part of the family tradition from generation to generation. There was generally no formal design institutions imparting design education in earlier times. The formal design education in India, in the modern sense, began when the National Institute of Design was established in 1961 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Prof. Bhaskar Batt, Director of School of Design at Anant National University, explains what design is all about, how design education is evolving in India and its relevance in modern times. He says, 'Design, as we say, is a creative problem-solving process used to develop innovative solutions and services to make our lives better. Contrary to the expressionist approach of art, design is strongly focused on the identification of the user and market needs, and thus is a process-centric exercise to develop new and innovative solutions.' McKinseys 2018 report emphasises the value of design and found that design-led companies grew twice as compared to non-design ones. Explaining design in Indian context, he says, 'Design in India focused on the social sectors prior to liberalisation of the economy and industry post the millennium. Whilst design embraced the industry, designers retained the philosophical bedrock of trying to make the world a better place. In the following two decades, India has seen a dramatic rise in manufacturing and services, with design as an enabler for product and service creation.' India's education system now have exclusive design schools and design focused departments in universities, both public and private. Many specializations exist similar to design schools in other countries that have advanced design education system. This include industrial and product design, communication design, fashion and textile design, interaction design and many more. Indian design schools have a teaching methodology that is a mix of theory and practicals involving innovative project-based learning. Prof. Bhatt explains, 'Unlike traditional courses which are evaluated through exams, most design schools evaluate through juries, where professional designers from the industry evaluate students' work through rigorous debate...There are three traditional exit pathways in design education - employment in studios and large companies, entrepreneurship or solo consulting, and further education...Design education is strongly influenced by market forces. In the recent past, we have witnessed two meta forces (internet in the 1990s and the smartphone revolution in the 2000s) that have changed the course of human development.' Read on...

India Today: Explained: The growing impact of design education in India
Author: Bhaskar Bhatt


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2022

Choice of field to pursue education and career is not an easy task for a student who is just out of school. The decision involves many aspects like personal interests, subject skills, level of commitment, qualifying exam performance, financial aspects and so on. Students need to prepare themselves with all requirements that would assist them in pursuing their educational dreams in their field of interest. Architecture is one field of study that requires students to understand as much as possible regarding what they are getting into and what is expected of them to successfully complete the courses to get architecture degree. Nuzhat Shama, a Research Assistant at the Center for Inclusive Architecture and Urbanism, BRAC University (Bangladesh), says, 'Drawing, colours, paint, and art fascinated me from a young age. I studied science during my O and A-levels hoping to pursue a medical degree. However, I have been intrigued by architecture since the sixth grade. Being the perfect amalgamation of art and science, this choice came very naturally to me...The architecture curriculum often consists of courses covering topics like history, art, music, environment and ecosystem, etc. For someone with little to no idea about the curriculum, this may come as a surprise...When you are an architect, you are responsible for creating the environment which shapes human beings including their habits, mindsets, cultures, lives, leisure, memories, and so on...Tunnel vision leads to projects which are bound to fail eventually. Objectivity and critical thinking are of utmost importance. An architect needs to be a well-rounded professional, which is why such courses are so important and contribute so much to the making of an architect...' In addition to classroom learning and courses, architectural students also have to take part in experiential learning, hands-on projects and thesis projects. These require high level of commitment and work hours. Pantha Shahriar, an Associate Architect at Triangle Consultants (Bangladesh), says, 'Building and structure design is the art and science of architecture. The understanding of physics, engineering, and mathematics is needed to produce designs that are both aesthetically beautiful and structurally sound. For developing comprehensive plans for entire cities and regions, many architects also collaborate with landscape architects, interior designers, and urban planners. So, we also need to learn the basics of landscaping, interior designing and urban planning. Thus comes the need for so many courses and therefore, so many credit hours...Project management is also something we must learn about...We also have to learn the basics of electrical connections and plumbing that run inside the structures we design, making the curriculum more extensive...Besides the tuition fees, there are some hidden costs in studying architecture that many are unaware of...Majority of the cost is generated from the materials for the models, but there are other significant investments an architecture student may need to make...' Read on...

The Daily Star: What students can expect from a major in Architecture
Author: Faisal Bin Iqbal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 sep 2022

The U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program established in 2011 is an experiential education and training program designed to facilitate entrepreneurial innovations in universities towards commercialization and expand their economic and social benefits and impact. The program has three aims - (1) Train an entreprenneurial workforce (2) Bring cutting-edge technologies to market (3) Nurturing an innovation ecosystem. According to the NSF website (nsf.gov) article 'NSF expands the National Innovation Network (NIN) with 5 new I-Corps Hubs' dated 08 sep 2022, NSF now has 10 hubs in total spread all across US with each hub funded for up to US$ 3 million per year for five years and comprises a regional alliance of at least eight universities. The I-Corps™ Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem. Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, says, 'I am delighted the I-Corps™ Hubs that we are awarding today will expand the footprint of the National Innovation Network, harnessing the innovation potential that exists all across the country by establishing clear pathways for researchers to engage with NSF's Lab-to-Market Platform. Each regional I-Corps™ Hub provides training essential in entrepreneurship and customer discovery, leading to new products, startups and jobs. In this way, the I-Corps™ program will open up new economic opportunities throughout the United States.' Vanderbilt University is the lead institution for the new Mid-South Region Hub and will coordinate the program through the Wond'ry Innovation Center. Daniel Diermeier, Chancellor of Vanderbilt, says, 'This role aligns perfectly with our position as a leading center of research and innovation, and with our efforts to help cultivate a thriving ecosystem supporting invention and entrepreneurship in our region...' Wond'ry's Charleson Bell, director of entrepreneurship, biomedical innovation and I-Corps™, and Deanna Meador, deputy director, in a joint statement say, 'The Mid-South I-Corps™ Hub is for everyone. Led by Vanderbilt with an intentional emphasis on inclusive innovation, this hub will accelerate the translation of groundbreaking university research outcomes into commercialized ventures that seed emergent, prosperous innovation ecosystems across the Midsouth. We are thrilled to extend our local successes with I-Corps™ to the greater Midsouth and help underrepresented innovators bring their ideas to life.' David A. Owens, Evans Family Executive Director, and Mandy Lalrindiki, program manager of innovation and design research, are other members of I-Corps™ team. The effort received broad bipartisan support from politicians including Tennessee's U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, and U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper, Tim Burchett and Chuck Fleischmann. C. Cybele Raver, provost of Vanderbilt, says, '...In keeping with NSF's aims, Vanderbilt drives discovery, harnessing big ideas in ways that dramatically increase their economic and social impact...' Padma Raghavan, vice provost for research and innovation at Vanderbilt, says, 'The spirit of collaborative innovation that defines our Vanderbilt community is key to our success...advance the development of an inclusive innovation corridor.' Read on...

Vanderbilst University Research News: The Wond'ry, Vanderbilt's Innovation Center, named National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Hub lead institution
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2022

Collaboration at University of Minnesota Twin Cities between Dr. Amr El-Bokl and Dr. Gurumurthy Hiremath of Department of Pediatrics at the Medical School, and Prof. Carlye Lauff and undergraduate student Levi Skelton of Product Design Program at the College of Design, is leading to create a knowledge product to teach children and their families about congenital heart disease (CHD). CHD is a birth defect in the heart of children. CHD leads to varied abnormalities in the heart as the child grows, making it difficult for children and their families to understand and manage it. Dr. El-Bokl says, 'There is a tendency to try and protect children from information...Slow and early introduction is one of the best ways to become familiar with the medical information, but we don’t have many child-friendly tools.' Design process was initiated with a collaborative effort. Skelton says, 'I started by researching what CHD is, how it can manifest, be managed, and sometimes corrected. Dr. El-Bokl was both my client and mentor. While he was teaching me about CHD, he was also telling me what he wanted out of the product.' Learning and understanding about CHD involved interactions with childrens that have the condition. After research, a companion toy product was decided to be designed. Skelton adds, 'Having children simulate a doctor/patient interaction with themselves and a toy has been proven to help children feel more comfortable as a patient during a visit to the doctor. Once I decided on creating a toy, I researched animals with unique hearts and chose the octopus because it has three of them.' The prototype is termed as 'Octo'. It is designed with a removable 3D-printed heart and has an accompanying digital app for kids to administer checkups and learn about cardiovascular functions.' Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Demystifying congenital heart disease through product design
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jan 2022

Design thinking is a concept that has found acceptance in many organizations and industries to develop a framework for creativity and innovation. The concept challenges the status quo and its application intends to bring distruptive change. The term 'design thinking' was first mentioned in the book 'Creative Engineering' by John E. Arnold that was published in 1959 and explained that the approach has 'the ability to resolve existent problems or propose an entirely new way of using a product, decrease production costs, and increase sales.' Many academics during 1960's started working to 'scienticize' design by understanding its characteristics, influences, processes, and methodologies. In the next decade 'design thinking' became popularized in various fields and the concept utilized 'creativity' as a means of addressing the accelerating need for innovation. Later on 'design thinking' evolved as a human-centered problem solving approach which utilizes the way consumers interact with a product as a basis to further develop it, instead of only relying on theoretical research, assumptions, and hypotheses. The approach involves various steps that include context analysis, observation, problem finding, brainstorming, ideation, creative thinking, sketching, prototyping, testing, and evaluating. It is a continuous improvement process and the steps may not be always in the same order. Design thinking is not specific to field of design and is utilized in variety of fields, disciplines, industries, markets etc. The early period of architectural study involves learning about the creative process of design, with an emphasis on individualistic expression, experimentation, and critical analysis, along with the basics of the technical and theoretical aspects of the profession. This provides the learner of architecture to look beyond the build space and explore and understand it as a response to the urban, communal, and environmental needs. Here the architect is thinking in a similar way as any other designer like graphic, web, interface, industrial etc, with just a different medium of implementation. Those architects that considered architecture discipline as too structured and traditional pursued careers in fields like UX design, design consultants, product and business innovation specialists etc. There they implemented their creative and innovative thinking and justified the shift. Many architects utilized design thinking approach within their profession to develop new systems for cities, buildings, and communities that are designed to fulfil the needs of the consumers instead of implementing the standard and traditional architectural approach. Even though many architects find it challenging to involve users in their creative process, a pre-requisite for design thinking process, but there is an overall scope to change and evolve the traditional architectural practice through design thinking approach. Read on...

ArchDaily: The Rise of the Design Thinking Movement and its Relation to Architecture
Author: Dima Stouhi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jul 2021

Fashion industry is one of the most polluting industry in the world. The World Economic Forum article 'These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is' (Author - Morgan McFall-Johnsen; 31 jan 2020) provides data to emphasize the fashion industry's polluting aspects. Here are the few of these facts - (1) In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. That's enough to fill the Sydney harbor annually. (2) Washing clothes releases 500000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year - the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. (3) A 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics - very small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade - in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. (4) The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions. (5) The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide. (6) Textile dyeing is the world's second-largest polluter of water, since the water leftover from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers. (7) Fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide. Fast fashion is one of the main reasons behind the negative impact of fashion industry. According to Wikipedia article 'Environmental impact of fashion', fast fashion is 'an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.' The idea is that speedy mass production combined with cheap labor will make clothes cheaper for those buying them, thus allowing these fast fashion trends to maintain economic success. The main concern with fast fashion is the clothes waste it produces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone. Recently a webinar was organized by Department of Design and Crafts at BBKDAV College for Women with experts in the field discussing the sustainability concepts in fashion and design industry. Prof. Raghuraman Iyer, a master of Design in Product Designing from IIT (Mumbai) and Head of Punyaa Education and Research Foundation, said, 'The need to move towards sustainable practices in designing and crafting of the products is more than ever now. Sustainable and sensible crafting will lead to less textile waste, less harm to animals, fairer wages and working conditions and a better tomorrow for the future.' Prof. Prabhjot Kaur, Department of design at BBKDAV, said, 'Even while investing in furniture of the house, one needs to be cautious as the chemical polish used on it releases toxic fumes. We can overcome such issues by keeping high oxygen generating indoor plants or having good ventilation system.' Dr. Pushpinder Walia, Principal of BBKDAV College for Women, said that after experiencing the pandemic, our generation must become more responsible. Read on...

Tribune India: 'Killing' it with fast fashion
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2021

More and more educators and experts are advocating inclusion of design and creativity focused subjects in the mainstream school level curriculum. In a webinar titled, 'Why Design Education is Important for Odisha', educators and policymakers discussed the value of design education in India and specifically for the state of Odisha. Prof. Pradyumna Vyas, Senior Advisor of Design and Innovation at Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and former Director of National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmedabad, says, 'We are in the fourth industrial revolution. Everything is merging with the other and as such design education can't be thought of in isolation. While the dependence on technology has been rapidly increasing, we have been losing touch on a human level. But the focus has to be on people. It should be remembered that technology is just an enabler, humanising that tech is design. If the pandemic has shown anything, it is that human beings can't be ignored.' Dr. Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), says, 'There is a need to mainstream design education and for that, it should be started at the school level. A curriculum should be built to incorporate design education as well. Design should be approached holistically and therefore it needs to be taught at the grassroot level and not during adulthood when it needs to be applied.' Prof. G. V. Sreekumar, former Head of the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay, says, 'There is a need to merge design with science, technology and art and looked at as a whole...More than a mere design school, the need is to build a design research center.' Prof. Paresh Choudhury, Founder of Odisha Design Council and former Head of National Institute of Design (NID) in Andhra Pradesh (AP), proposed the need to set up a design school in Odisha. Odisha Design Council (ODC) is a social nonprofit enterprise that intends to spread education, research and development and innovation in the field of design. Read on...

edexlive.com: Design education must be taught at the grassroot level: Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Amar Patnaik
Author: Bidushi Das


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has affected art and culture sector, and significantly impacted talent associated with it. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO in her message on World Art Day (15 April 2020), celebrated on the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, said, 'Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.' The art community is adapting to the new challenges and finding innovative solutions to keep the spirit alive. The program, 'Arts and Culture Education Change-Up', a collaboration between South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Culture and Arts Education Service and the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, has come up with something positive during the pandemic. The program teaches and supports creative people who are interested in social entrepreneurial projects in the field of arts and culture education. Han Jeong-seop, professor and dean of the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, says, 'If it were not for COVID-19, we might not have brought those international guest speakers or have participants from Jeju Island due to geographical factors...We wanted to showcase how overseas cultural social enterprises play a role in resolving social problems between the public and private sector.' The participants in the online interaction included representatives from STEPS (Canada-based charitable public art organization that develops one-of-a-kind public art plans, installations and engagement strategies that foster vibrant communities), and Starcatchers (Scotland-based art organization specializing in creating performances and exploring creative activities for babies, toddlers and young children up to the age of five and the adults who care for them). Anjuli Solanki, program director of the STEPS Initiative, says, 'Applying our multidisciplinary expertise, we strive to develop a strong contextual understanding of the neighborhoods and sites we are working in for all our projects. Our goal is to create iconic public works that attract widespread attention by transforming underutilized public spaces.' Bebhinn Jennings, program manager at STEPS, says, 'The pandemic has highlighted our need to connect, to be inspired and to contribute to our communities. As such, art and public art in particular are increasingly important as they offer numerous entry points for engagement. Public art can both beautify a space, and ignite dialogues around important issues such has climate change, public health and systemic inequalities - all conversations that have been active throughout the pandemic.' Rhona Matheson, chief executive of Starcatchers, says, 'We know we are not going to be able to tour any of our productions until at least spring 2021 so our focus is on providing a range of activities that parents or childcare settings can share with very young children. Retaining a connection with audiences has been very important and making the offers through our online activities has been essential. Similarly, being able to retain connection with the families who participate in our community engagement programs has been very important - this has been a means to offer support to young families who experience social and rural isolation and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.' Lee In-kyung, an art instructor at an alternative school on Jeju Island, says, 'If it were not operated online, it would be very difficult and time-consuming for me to participate in a training program held in Seoul. Now I can communicate with other social entrepreneurs while on Jeju...We made environmental picture books and tried junk art, campaigning for environment. I realized that students could learn better through empirical art education.' She developed such experiences into an idea for a social enterprise, aiming to support teenagers to cultivate creativity, problem-solving skills and empathic abilities. Kim Soo-jung, CEO of Open Your Arts and in the second year of Change-Up program, says, 'I wanted to provide sustainable art education for socially disadvantaged children, but it was impossible to solve the problem as a volunteer. So I came up with this art educational kit developed in collaboration with artists...Their (Starcatchers and STEPS) business model is not based nor suitable for online, but it was interesting to see the possibility of online platforms, transcending physical or regional limitations.' Read on...

The Korea Times: Social enterprise bridges art, community amid pandemic
Author: Kwon Mee-yoo


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2020

Diversity and inclusion at workplace brings creativity and enhances culture of innovation. There is inclination towards bridging the gender gap and promoting gender parity in organizations. According to McKinsey's 'Women in the Workplace 2019' report, since 2015 the number of women in senior leadership has grown and in the C-suite the representation of women has increased from 17% to 21%. Moreover, in 2019 44% of companies have three or more women in their C-suite, up from 29% of companies in 2015. The 2017 study 'What Women Want - And Why You Want Women - In the Workplace' by Center for Creative Leadership (ccl.org) found that having more women in the workplace actually makes an organization a better place to work. Moreover, having a higher percentage of female talent in an organization predicted - More job satisfaction; More organizational dedication; More meaningful work; Less burnout. The study also found that having more women in the workplace was also positively related to employee engagement and retention. Top architectural and design schools in US are setting the examples in academia by bringing women at leadership positions. The following five thought leaders are now molding the next generation of talent and reshaping the design field for the 21st century - (1) J. Meejin Yoon (Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning): 'I'm optimistic about architectural education going forward and the role of the academy as a leader around critical social and environmental issues, as well as emerging technologies and their impact on the built environment. It feels significant to be a part of this group of women academic leaders, all of whom are deeply committed to both education and practice...Diversity means better research, better education, better design.' (2) Sarah Whiting (Harvard University Graduate School of Design): 'Our mandate is to identify questions that are relevant and urgent, questions like ethics, climate change, and housing. It's important to make sure the world knows that design is not a frivolous add-on to our lives but rather at the root of how we live.' (3) Mónica Ponce de León (Princeton University School of Architecture): 'Architecture materializes culture. We have the capacity to put on the table alternatives to the status quo. But if architecture is going to impact culture, it has to represent and argue for a broad cohort of communities. Diversity is key.' (4) Deborah Berke (Yale School of Architecture): 'One of the ways that we can make the profession more inclusive is to reduce the enormous burden of student debt...I am a strong believer in what I call built environment social justice. Those most vulnerable are those being most hurt...Everyone is entitled to beauty in their everyday life. The built environment can, at its very finest, bring joy.' (5) Amale Andraos (Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation): 'Architecture got cut up into all these different disciplines, leaving us with a very small, cosmetic part, limiting what the field can mean and what practice can do. Unless we integrate and collaborate, we cannot engage with the scale of issues such as climate change...Academia can change the profession.' Read on...

Architectural Digest: These Trailblazing Women are the New Deans of American Design
Author: Sam Cochran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019

Christopher Charles Benninger, India-based US architect and author of the book 'Letters to a Young Architect', while speaking at a World Habitat Day event in Kochi (Kerala, India) advocates that Indian students should not go to US to study architecture citing higher cost incurred and subsequent settling there, but instead, they should spend 8-9 months travelling across India to see the country's traditional architectural marvels and the materials used for their construction. He suggests that architects should make use of the local climate, materials and labour force. V. Sunil Kumar, founder and MD of Asset Homes, says, 'Among the economically-backward people of India, there is a dearth of 2.5 crore homes while lower income group also lacks 3 crore houses.' Read on...

The Hindu: 'Architecture should be rooted to local culture'
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 aug 2019

People with the twin passion of design and development of new products can transform into design entrepreneurs. They are able to control both the design and business processes. Vijayant Bansal, founder of World University of Design (India), explains what it takes to be a design entrepreneur and explores the shifting landscape of design entrepreneurship in India. He says, 'We are in the midst of a design revolution and increasingly design is gaining a lot of focus...But it's not easy starting from ground zero and working yourself towards achieving credibility, recognition and last but not the least, generating demand. This involves having to create a balance between what we want to create with what the customer wants; what is possible technically and how much of a resource pull will it involve.' Contemporary design entrepreneurship includes new product development, restoring crafts, innovating existing products and providing design services based on new & emerging technologies. Explaining the design revolution, he says, 'Designing is undergoing a metamorphosis, aided by new technologies and digital transformation of today. New and disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Machine learning etc., are the biggest enablers, disrupting traditional processes and systems, enabling out of the box thinking and new ideas, which in turn reshape the entire user experience.' Universities can play an important role in guiding and mentoring students to pursue design entrepreneurship. Industry experts can also play a role in this and enable students to participate in hands-on training. Virtual products have also expanded the scope of design entrepreneurship with designers engaged in designing and developing games and apps. Design entrepreneurship is the new career paradigm. Mr. Bansal suggests, 'Today the scenario has undergone a sea change, with almost every industry, be it apparel, automobiles, film making, animation, product design or gaming, with design playing an intrinsic role in the entire process from an idea to the end product. It's worth the challenge if financial security and stability are not foremost on your mind and you have the patience and inclination to see through the entire process of making the design-centric idea into a successful venture.' Read on...

Entrepreneur: The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur
Author: Vijayant Bansal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jun 2019

Creativity is at the core of art and design. They both are visual and material culmination of varied degrees of human expression. Vibhor Sogani, fusing the lines between design and art, between being a product designer and public installation artist, says, 'At the end of the day, it is all about creativity. People may deem art superior to design but designing is serious business and a very responsible job.' He explains the value of public art for the growth-oriented country like India, 'Since India has so many people and so many public spaces, it is an ideal ground for engaging with them through art. The all-important ingredient of public art is engagement with people.' On balancing creativity and guidelines in commissioned projects, he says, 'We all need a sense of direction. After all, you need to align yourself with something. I think the brief given to me by my client is only a starting point. Thereafter, I am free to follow my vision.' An alumnus of National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad, India) and having worked in the field of industrial design, he is well-versed in the craft of materials as well as technology. He follows both reactive and proactive approaches to pursue his creative work. He suggests that while thinking of an idea is instant, putting it into a tangible shape of art is slow and time consuming. His public art works include Joy in Dubai, Sprouts in New Delhi and Kalpavriksha in Ahmedabad. Read on...

The Tribune: Blurring the line between art and design
Author: Nonika Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 feb 2019

India's 'Development Agenda' as outlined by current government includes development of 100 smart cities, 40 million dwelling units, 20 million affordable homes, better infrastructure facilities through the AMRUT scheme, focus on urban development and transformation, slum rehabilitation, and 'Housing for All' by 2022. It is estimated that to fulfil this agenda there is requirement of 75 million skilled people in real estate and infrastructure. Moreover, according to reports there is need of 4 million core professionals (architects, engineers, planners). Shubika Bilkha, Business Head at The Real Estate Management Institute (REMI), explains the key aspects that architectural graduates and planners should keep in while building their skill set in evolving environment - (1) Be Multifaceted: Take advantage of a number of roles- from design architecture, structural or liaisoning architects, to urban planning, property development, sustainable development, teaching or getting involved with disaster relief/re-building communities. Require skills such as engineering, design, supervisory skills, managing people/teams/vendors/client expectations, an understanding of key building/designing/construction/smart technology, strong communication and persuasion skills to communicate their vision. Have much larger role and bigger scope getting involved from pre-design services, to cost analysis and land-use studies, feasibility reports, environment studies to developing the final construction plans etc. (2) Be Business Minded: Understand key real estate and planning concepts and calculations, municipal and local development regulations, legal limitations, the social and urban infrastructure, fundraising/financing and the evolving policy framework. (3) Be Responsible: Consider social and environmental impact of the recommendations. Understand sustainability and implement it effectively. Read on...

India Today: Architecture career trend in India: 3 things to keep in mind to be a skilled architect
Author: Shubika Bilkha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2018

The idea of coffee table books with thick pages and attractive glossy covers is accessibility, they are reachable and readily readable. Henry Miller said in his book 'The Books in My Life' (1969), 'A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.' But this may not be the case with coffee table books as they hardly lie idle. Moreover, Susan Sontag defined her library as 'an archive of longings'. Here are coffee table books on design that stand out in 2018 - (1) Andrew Martin Interior Design Review (Volume 22): With over 500 pages of the latest interior styles and trends, marks out the World's 100 greatest interior designers and showcases their projects on an international level. A must-have for interior designers and design professionals. Martin Weller, founder of Andrew Martin, says that the 22nd edition of the review 'honours alterity', due to the 'astonishing breadth and variety of work' involved. (2) Nina Campbell Interior Decoration: Elegance and Ease (Giles Kime): The book features a biographical essay that runs alongside images of lofty rooms with fabric-matched armchairs, tablecloths and curtains, antique occasional pieces and wallpapered wall panelling, each of which is punctuated with the finest upholstered furniture. (3) Shelfie: Clutter-clearing Ideas for Stylish Shelf Art (Martha Roberts): The idea of 'shelfie' started with Marie Kondo's de-cluttering trend, followed-closely by a surge in the popularity of open shelving. #Shelfie became a hot trend on social media with creatives and interior designers showcasing their shelfs. Martha Roberts brings the social media into the pages of the book. Her shelfie digest demonstrates a fusion of great design, an unapologetic display of personality and a deep sense of relevance to the digitally engaged generation of aesthetes. Read on...

The Independent: Best design coffee table books of 2018
Author: Anya Cooklin-Lofting


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2018

Sustainability is evolving into an essential component of fashion and design industry due to environmental concerns. The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA), a Pratt Institute (US) initiative, is a hub of ethical fashion and design, providing resources to design entrepreneurs, creative technologists and professionals to turn ideas into businesses. Debera Johnson, founder and ED of BF+DA, also established the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies at Pratt Institute and has been integrating sustainability into art, design and architecture programs. She says, 'There are really three things that we're focused on doing. First - redefining the fashion industry around the environment and society...Second - we have production facilities open to designers. Our goal there is to be a local resource for sustainable production and to help educate designers about how to implement strategies around efficiencies and sustainable supply chain...The third and probably the newest part of what we're doing is becoming a research and design center for the integration of technology into smart garments and functional textiles - and, most importantly, with the idea of sustainability alongside it.' Regarding consumer perceptions, she says, 'Consumers need to decide whether they're more interested in saving pennies or saving the environment. Products that are quality are going to cost more. We just have to decide where we stand...At BF+DA, transparency is a big piece of how we do storytelling...' Regarding coming together of technology and sustainability, she says, 'The digitalization is one of them. I also think that biotech is creating really interesting materials in laboratories and not farms...Then you also have things like blockchain to help with traceability...And there's also nanofibers.' Read on...

GreenBiz: Moving the needle: Toward a more holistic and ethical fashion industry
Authors: Lindsey Strange, Katie Ellman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2018

According to the report by Prof. Anne Boddington (PVC of Research, Business & Innovation at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, UK), 'Future of design education in India', India needs to produce 65000 designs annually to satisfy the capacity of indigenous creative industry. The current production is around 5000 per year. Prof. Boddington is working on the development of arts and design education in India and collaborating with Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD). She says, 'Design and Art as a field is emerging in India. There is not only a huge opportunity but also a sense of enthusiasm and can-do attitude in Indians for it. But to match-up to the emerging field, there is a need to train teachers first...A design teacher needs to make the student autonomous and increase their level of creativity and understanding.' She recommends that arts and design education should not be limited to creative fields, but should also become part of all fields of learning. She considers critical listening, research, and quality assessment are part of design and art curriculum. According to her, there is a great potential to create interdisciplinary programs where creative skills will be imparted as a part of foundation courses. Read on...

The Times of India: Why India needs new Art and Design curriculum
Author: Shyna Kalra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2018

Australian fashion designer, Mark Liu, advises creative professionals to recognize the importance of studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at school. He initiated 'Zero Waste Fashion Design' concept in which every piece of fabric is utilized in a fitting pattern. This process is contrary to the traditional linear pattern-making, which assumes a flat surface - with little account for the body's curves. Mr. Liu says, 'When you start pattern-making with zero waste, you really have to understand how it works to a really intricate level. Traditional techniques weren't really cutting it. I had to look at the underlying mathematics. And the more I looked, the more I found problems that mathematics had answers to but traditional pattern-making didn't.' He created 'Non-Euclidean' system of pattern-making that uses a technique called the 'Drape Measure' to record the curvature of surfaces as an angle measurement in order to create a more accurate design. Advocating STEM for creatives and designers, he also want 'A' for 'Arts' to be included to make it STEAM. Mr. Liu also supports and mentors students of International Grammar School (Sydney, Australia) emphasizing importance of maths. Ksenija Doic, design and technology teacher at school, says, 'They come into a creative subject thinking, 'Perhaps all I need is to have an idea, or be good with colours, or have an artistic side'. But what mathematics is useful for is the problem-solving part. The students who do maths find it easier to do the tasks at hand, because they have an innate knowledge of geometry, of working out curves and tangents.' Wynton Lambert, a student, says, 'Without some of the stuff I learned in maths, I wouldn't have been able to do the sleeve (of the shirt). It was very technical.' Mr. Liu considers STEAM to be the future and says, 'There’s this nice intersection between art and mathematics, and when they come together that's when really amazing things happen.' Read on...

SBS News: Why aspiring fashion designers should study maths
Author: Rena Sarumpaet

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