Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Sari Knopp Biklen
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Architecture | Environmental Design | Other Architecture
The Design Outfit is a real project derived from a conceptual program. The program, or set of concepts from which the project sprang, critically approached three aspects of design practice:
I) reality: how design proceeds from initial sketches to finishing touches, with all steps and scales given comparable attention
II) collaboration: how designers interface with one another and others throughout a design process
III) social awareness: how designers can shape and place their efforts in relation to social significance
The project was designed to explore and test these aspects of design.
Based at Henninger High, a public Syracuse City school located on the north side, a group of Syracuse University students paired with a group of high school students to lead a design exploration. Their ultimate goal was to design and build an installation at the school, but the process itself was also approached as a product.
The first of two semesters consisted primarily of design lessons lead by the Syracuse University students. The collaborative strategy was to engage and teach the high school students while simultaneously extrapolating from discussions the ways in which the school facility and culture operated. From this understanding came the beginnings of a design.
In the second semester, Syracuse University students focused their efforts on developing and realizing a design. They interfaced primarily with three parties: the high school community, craft technicians, and the school district bureaucracy. Unexpected turns and barriers became the norm, ultimately leading to behind-schedule production and a minimal chance of the installation being realized in site.
The process essentially became the product, and a compilation of text and images recapitulates and critiques the exploration.
Jack, Douglas, "Design Outfit An Interdisciplinary Think + Act Tank" (2007). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 595.
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