This research project aspires to find novel teaching techniques for online design studios that include making at home. Inverting the design studio from an in-person to an on-line pedagogy provides an opportunity to create a remote learning model accessible to a more international and under-served population at the same level of quality as current programs. The research documents critical aspects of an in-person studio environment and develops digital corollaries that allow students to produce analog and digital work at home without compromising quality or learning goals. The Covid-19 pandemic intensified the direction of the research and allowed us to document the strengths and challenges of remote learning. We subsequently developed an Advanced Design studio for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 to refine a system for online studio learning to be shared as a booklet and interactive resource showcasing course structures, work sharing platforms, representation techniques, and methods of analog and digital production accessible from home. The primary contributions of this research are the use of an online digital whiteboard application, the design of a visual course structure, and the development of a ‘making at home kit’. A visually organized platform for course organization brings the in-person studio experience to a virtual space where students can find documents, schedules, resources, and peer work by freely navigating a single digital platform. Having all course materials and developments always visually accessible without layers of hierarchy helps simulate the learning experience of an in-person studio. We also do not have to give up the physical aspects of design learning when operating on an online platform. The research documents many tools and techniques of making that can be done in an at home environment without the need for significant costs or equipment. With integrated common material packages and tutorials on representation students are able to achieve equivalent levels of analog models and drawings over four semesters and several courses including design studios, representation seminars, and high school scholars courses.
Robert is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Pratt Institute’s Undergraduate Architecture department teaching in core and advanced curriculum courses since 2008. He received his M.Arch from Columbia GSAPP in 2007 with the AIA Medal for Excellence. Robert has taught and coordinated first-year design and first-year representation sequences, intermediate and advanced design studios, advanced elective seminars in computation & fabrication. He has also taught studio courses in the PreCollege and K-12 Architecture programs at Pratt and Columbia University. Robert has worked in curriculum development and strategic planning at Pratt, Columbia GSAPP, and CUNY NYCCT. He is the Technical Director and Co-Founder of Miscellaneous Projects, a multi-disciplinary design practice synthesizing traditional techniques with advanced technology to make things at many scales. The work incorporates architecture, fabrication, computation, graphic design, interactive design, and product design. We make things! Robert’s passion for design and making stems from his background in digital fabrication, production management, and consulting on computation production systems for design projects.
Duks Koschitz, Dipl. Ing., PhD Professor in Design and Technology Duks is a tenured professor and the director of the d.r.a. (center for design research at Pratt), a research initiative that supports design research at Pratt, which focuses on folding as a method for novel construction systems. At Pratt he developed an approach to teaching the first year studios in the School of Architecture, which teaches visual thinking in a structured way. The syllabi guide students through several exercises that focus on concepts in visual thinking and shape grammars. Regarding advanced studios, Duks has developed a teaching approach that encompasses specific topics in geometry and structural systems that get tested via full-scale student-built projects. Several of the studios expand on his dissertation research and use curved-crease paper folding techniques for full scale design-build projects. Duks wrote his dissertation on the Curved-crease Paper Folding work of David Huffman, the well known computer scientist who invented loss-less compression. Duks has since developed several ways to teach and work with curved folds and continues to investigate this underexplored topic in geometry. Duks also developed ‘Beetle Blocks’ with Eric Rosenbaum and Bernat Romagosa, a software to teach algorithmic thinking to generate forms. He has held several research positions at M.I.T. and has evaluated and documented all of Heinz Isler’s models for the Heinz Isler Archive at the ETH in Zurich in 2011.