Teaching design is more than critique. Teaching design has to do with facilitating the acquisition of design expertise. The acquisition of design expertise follows a cumulative developmental pattern: That is, a developmental pattern that necessarily builds on prior knowledge. There is no such thing as a "natural designers" in the sense that one is a born designer. That is absurd. While it is true that certain men and women seem to possess a predisposition or aptitude for design, fundamentally design is an acquired ability, that relies on the mastery of a large cross-section of inter disciplinary declarative/conceptual knowledge, strategic/heuristic knowledge, and strategic/tacit knowledge. To become a design requires years of deliberate practice, guided by a knowledgable tutor and being assimilating into the culture of professional designers. The unfortunate reality is that it takes far more than being a competent or expert design to teach design. Being able to teach design requires being able to show (and explain) "how to" design. And that requires systematic reflection on the design process and a deep understanding of design cognition. Ironically, the inability to show how or to explain is the hallmark of an expert designer. Expertise is embodied embodied knowledge: knowing more than you can say. It is the burden of the design professor to figure out a way to show how and to explain why. The following project are examples of how I have tried to do this at schools of design in the USA, Europe and China. Some of the work done by my students at Tsinghua University with the sponsorship of Häfele China is worth taking a closer look.

Projects


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