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DIS Architecture + Design Study Tour Assignment Summer 2017

Design Understood, Design Experienced

The study tours of the Architecture and Design Program at DIS form an integral
part of the learning process. We visit sites to experience and analyze design, and
to ultimately become better architects and designers.

The study tour assignment is an integral part of this endeavor. The assignment
consists of an in-depth research and analysis of a specific design subject. The
assignment is carried out in small teams of 2-4 students.

The framework for the research and analysis is a model developed by Danish
architect, Erik Nygaard, in his book, Architecture Understood (the book as a
whole is only available in Danish, but the Introduction has been translated for
the purpose of this assignment and is available on Canvas). The model is not
exhaustive but should be seen as a framework devised to guide the student
through various possible viewpoints helping to assure a balanced analysis.

Model of interpretation (the four windows) see diagram to the left

Below the use of the term design implies all of the design disciplines, i.e.
architecture, interior architecture, urban design and graphic design.

1. Design understood based on its conception

Design can be analyzed on the basis of how it began, for example the brief, the
designers intentions, the site, region, topography, climate and culture surrounding
the design, as well as on the ideas of the time, the so-called Zeitgeist, and how
this informs the design.

2. Design understood as pure form

Design can be analyzed on the basis of its form, shape, color, geometry, kerning
and proportions, seen as an object, seen as space, as negative space, or on
Think of the four elements of the model as four win- the basis of the construction, materiality, texture or structural expression. Most
dows into the work of architecture - you need to classical art historical, aesthetic approaches are at home in this category.
view through all four.
3. Design understood based on its reception
Design can be analyzed as reactions to other designs - both historical design or
design of its immediate context; the phenomenological experience - how users/
our senses react - can form the basis for an analysis; approaches building off
of environmental psychology, urban sociology and human perception in a wider
sense and the way in which design impacts, shapes or guides our behavior are at
home in this category.

4. Design understood through socio-cultural determinants

Design can be analyzed as a result of or at least as implicated by the political,
economical, historical, socio-cultural conditions surrounding its conception, form
and reception. The way architecture may be informed by analytical approaches
from other academic disciplines, like literary analysis, semiotics, structuralism and
poststructuralism, are also at home in this category.
DIS Architecture + Design Study Tour Assignment Summer 2017

Course of action
1. Each team is given a subject/site and start plannning the research needed
to carry out the assignment. Initial resources on all sites available on Canvas.
Library and desk research using the internet must be included as well.

2. Each team analyzes the subject/site using all four elements of the model
of interpretation to produce 8-10 slides of research based critical reflection.
The interpretation must include a concluding page stating three good study
questions to pursue when on site - what you would want your fellow students
to note when there. Focus on the communication: the aim is to create a clear,
concise and convincing presentation. Discuss presentation techniques, use of
imagery, annotation of images, lay out, etc.

3. Each subject to be presented prior to the study tour to your studio as a 10-15
min verbal and slide based presentation of your design understandings, with
5-10 minutes Q&A from the audience.

Required Reading
Nygaard, Erik. Architecture Understood
Located on Canvas


Day Date Time Event

Tu Jun 13 13:15-17:00 Introduction of Study Tour Assignment

Teams and sites issued in studio

We Jun 14 09:00-13:00 Studio with faculty

Th Jun 15 09:00-13:00 Studio (no faculty)

Fr Jun 16 09:00-12:00 Presentations of Study Tour Assignment

On tour:
Individual studies 13:00-14:00 AD Long Study Tour Intros (See Canvas
Small group discussions for location)
Larger group discussions