Collaborative Design Engineering Studio II

The spring studio builds upon theoretical and technical concepts already introduced in the MDE program with the emphasis on creative and critical thinking, observational and experimentation-based evaluation, and context-aware communication strategies essential for complex problem-solving activities.

The human mind excels in rapidly identifying patterns and establishing associations that simplify the complexity of the world and habituating thinking processes to minimize its own energy use. The term “creative and critical thinking” points to the need to consciously overcome our innate limitations to design solutions that are impactful and responsible.

Mobility, the theme of the year, can be understood as a potential socio-material-information movement across space and time, using infrastructure and energy, which embodies socially consequential problems and solutions. In this studio, students are challenged to, identify, propose, prototype, test, evaluate, and refine problems and solutions around [i] ordinary mobility with an extraordinary perspective or [ii] extraordinary mobility with an ordinary (accessible) perspective.  

The semester is organized around two projects the briefs that invite students to consider two achievement-oriented scenarios: a call for developing a research funding application and a call for a design award entry. We introduce this framework to heighten student awareness in connecting their own ideas to the “real-world” objectives, by facilitating the notion of objectivity, empathic analysis, multifaceted evaluation and professional communication. While the first project will be highly structured, the second will be self-guided full-blown design project in preparation for the IDEP.

The Studio will take place twice a week, with Mondays primarily dedicated to pinups and desk critiques, and Wednesdays reserved for lectures and workshops.

This Studio is limited to first-year students enrolled in the Master in Design Engineering Program, a collaborative degree associated with Harvard GSD and SEAS.