Interdisciplinary Design in Practice


Alexander Porter - HanifKara_InterdisciplinaryDesignPractice_CoverThis course aims to teach, stimulate and demonstrate “design led” opportunities that exist in the practice of Architecture. Positioned within the space of interdisciplinary boundaries, the course invites both GSD and MIT students to encourage and pioneer a joint, interdisciplinary discourse, to learn how projects are considered, won, designed and built.

Ten high profile projects, won as design competitions and subsequently constructed, act as the platform to expand the thinking on issues such as:

  • Exploring transformational research in design and technology developments
  • How each architectural practice reacts to and delivers design
  • Pioneering technical solutions
  • Establishing a variety of aesthetic positions
  • Pushing the client’s brief

The characterization “interdisciplinary” is not invoked lightly as the course is designed to go beyond juxtaposing two disciplines. The instructors experience and the methodology adopted ensures what is taught in the course (with the sharing and integration of breakthroughs achieved in practice) reinforces the ideals that cannot be achieved in a single parent discipline.

The course structure covers a broad spectrum of architectural approaches that allow students to respond to each unique derivative position, from concept to construction. Through substantial and unpublished original material, students will engage with the early conceptual stages through to the detailed design process and construction. During the course, several project architect(s) from the cases will participate in the discussion. Case studies will be studied in thematic modules, with each module lasting 2-3 sessions. Through fast design exercises, analysis, interaction and team work, students will become part of the project team in the most critical design decisions. Student work consists of two team assignments and a final design project. Student teams will be assigned for each assignment and present their analyses in class. The final design project will be a team project, and it will bring together all the themes of the course through the task of responding in a given design brief.