This paper describes and reflects upon the educational values of design briefs based on culture-led regeneration projects. The piece of writing draws upon a series of successful design exercises that asked architecture students to design new structures and buildings in and around the town of Huddersfield in England. Like many cities around the world, Huddersfield experienced a period of wealth, especially during the industrial revolution, followed by some challenges affecting its cultural, economic and social aspects on different levels. The assigned design briefs have identified potential sites and proposed buildings that can host artistic and cultural activities that could trigger several positive changes in the town. The positive impact of culture has also been highlighted in several publications, including the document entitled ‘Culture-led regeneration: Achieving inclusive and sustainable growth’, compiled by the Local Government Association. The paper highlights some of the key elements of the design briefs, which are the sites that have been selected for their characteristics (historical, natural, surroundings, etc), typologies of the interventions, themes and their educational values. The paper presents and reflects upon the criteria that have informed the development of these design briefs and also their educational values that go beyond the design of a piece of architecture. In fact, each brief allowed students to reflect upon the role of art and culture in our society and their multifaceted characteristics and interpretations, and how they can support the development of a more sustainable lifestyle and community. Students reflected on a selection of visual arts, including video games art, literature, books and readings. The paper also presents ideas that are informing the development of new design briefs (which also explore connections between culture, art and food) and possible multidisciplinary collaborations between the architecture and interior design courses.
Dr Danilo Di Mascio is a Lecturer in Architecture, researcher and register architect (ARB). He joined the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield on September 2017. Before that, he was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Northumbria University (Department of Architecture and Built Environment) and Research Associate at Open Lab, Newcastle University where he worked on a multidisciplinary research project funded by the EPSRC. Before, during and after his PhD, Danilo has undertaken several research projects related to the documentation, comprehension and analysis of tangible and intangible features of architecture and places in five different countries: Belgium, England, Italy, Scotland, and the United States. During his research projects, he developed theoretical approaches and methodologies and used various tools, both analogue and digital, including CAAD, 3d modelling, Image editing software, BIM, game engines, semantic web technologies. Danilo participated, as author and speaker, at various international conferences in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. During the CAADRIA (Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia) Conference held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010, he received the Young CAADRIA Award for his research.
Claire Diggle is a lecturer of Interior Design at The University of Huddersfield. Claire’s research interests are in the areas of spatial design with connection to food design & design narratives and art and design pedagogy. Her work was showcased in The Persistence of Utopia (2019), exhibition organised for the The Cosmia Festival and co-organised with the School of Art Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield. She is a scientific committee member and international reviewing committee member of EAEA15 (15th European Architectural Envisioning Conference) entitled ‘Envisioning Architectural Narratives’ organised by the University of Huddersfield (2021). She completed her Master of Research (MRes) from the University of Huddersfield in 2014 before gaining commercial design experience within the UK. Claire is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an affiliate member of The British Institute of Interior Design.