Developing a critical eye is a significant learning outcome within the academic disciplines of architecture and interior design. It is important for students to study iconic buildings and interiors to understand concepts and ideas, in order to build their design knowledge and become strong designers. Many courses that address historic work are structured as traditional lecture courses, with an emphasis on quantity of buildings taught and memorization of facts for exams. This approach is overwhelming; core ideas such as organization, structure, approach, and materiality are of more value than the mastery of a building’s identification. Closely examining a short, yet highly curated list of buildings that includes diverse concepts will have a lasting impact, as students connect with the architectural ideas discovered. This approach uses a case study technique created by the author titled D3 Methodology which stands for Define, Draw, Diagram. Each course topic includes a refined list of buildings, and within each list the student explores one building in depth. Using course content and independent research, the student starts by defining the concept using a spatial verb/noun combination (i.e., interlocking forms). Next, they utilize a variety of sketching exercises to draw the building, as the act of drawing allows one to look closely at elements that typically unnoticed. Finally, they create diagrams that explore conceptual thinking and ideation that are unique to the building studied. These graphic drawings communicate ideas with limited text, using varied line types, weights, and color. This presentation will explain the case study approach of the D3 Methodology in detail and share student work. Ultimately, this project-based method enforces the act of doing, and emphasizes a philosophy that values quality over quantity in regard to learning about and understanding architecture.
Stephanie received her Master of Architecture with distinction and Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan. Since 2009, she has been an Associate Professor and Program Head of Interior Architecture at The George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC. Prior to GW, Stephanie worked in New York City for Gensler and Vicente Wolf Associates. She brings her passion for modern architecture and design to her courses and research; her love of drawing led to her best-selling book, Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design (Laurence King Publishing, 2015), which has been published in seven languages and is sold in museums around the world. Her upcoming book 25 Concepts in Modern Architecture: A Guide for Visual Thinkers will be published by Bloomsbury Publishing in September, 2021. A passionate traveler, Stephanie has brought students abroad to study modern and contemporary architecture in cities such as Paris, London, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Milan. She has also published and presented many peer-reviewed articles on the topics of design pedagogy and modern architecture, and is the 2018 recipient of the Design Principles and Practices International Award for Excellence for her article Pure Form: The Interior of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.