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Proceedings of the 18th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student

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Design -- Study and teaching, Architecture -- Study and teaching, Design (Philosophy), Music -- Aesthetics -- Relation to architecture


The beginning design student, like any other. is confronted with a world riddled with a multiplicity of physical, sociological, and psychological conditions that can thwart efforts to objectify contextual design determinants. Given the complexity of the twenty-first century environment, students should perhaps be given a non-building t ype of environment to hone their analytic abilities prior to taking on such a proliferation of perceptual stimuli. Physical environments such as urban settings that typically make up the sites for early design problems are simply too complex for students to first learn to perceive their surroundings in an objective manner. Too many preconceived notions of what constitute such environments cloud their abi lity to analyze such a place. Perhaps an alternative subject exists for students to learn how to discern and organize layers of information into an accurate set of perceptual understandings.

While architectural design remains a predominantly visual field of study, our perception of the world involves a myriad of other interconnecting sensory experiences. Tactility and texture can be inferred visually, as can conditions of moistness and dryness. As influential in the design of the built environment as they are, taste, smell, and sound are not easy to graphically communicate. More often than not, the aural experience of the world is left out of the design equation. Unlike the visual arts to which there is little resistance to the use of aural perception in the conception of space, there is can be skepticism regarding attempts to bridge between the aural and visual in architecture.


Presented at the 18th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. March 14-16, 2002.

© Portland State University, published by Portland State University, Department of Architecture

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