Content and objectives of the course
The Researching Space module introduces research-based
approaches and methods for analysis and design of space. Focus is particularly
on user-centred, collaborative and conceptual design as applied to residential
and public space. We focus on four topical themes in design studies and
practice, each with specific methods and approaches. The goal is to gain an
understanding of the themes in the context of spatial design. The themes are
approached through lectures, readings and weekly
EXPLORATION AND FORESIGHT – We discuss space as vehicle of societal change and explore research resources and future-oriented methods that can be utilised by spatial designers for identifying new societally relevant directions for design.
SYSTEMS AND STRATEGIES – We analyse space as a systemic, hierarchically organised product that comprises elements in control of various actors, and study strategies through which designers can create value within the system.
UNDERSTANDING THE USER – We examine critically the evolution, role and changing perceptions of the user in spatial design and assess methods to capture knowledge about users and their experiences, needs and preferences to inform design.
HUMAN-CENTRED SPATIAL DESIGN – We open up practical, research-based approaches within human-centred design and co-design that respond to different aspects of the holistic user experience in space.
The learning objectives are:
- The students will get
familiar with current research topics and approaches in spatial design.
- They will learn to apply systematic, research based methods in the spatial design process.
- They will learn team working and argumentation skills and critical design thinking.
The design brief in 2018 – New concepts for human-centred learning environments
The focus of the design project this year is learning environments. Schools in Finland and elsewhere are adopting phenomenon-based pedagogical models. At the same time, digital technology is transforming learning and challenging the role of physical space. Learning is expanding from the classroom to experiential, flexible and collaborative spaces, and even beyond traditional learning environments. The boundaries between learning, living, working and leisure are blurring. How can spatial designers creatively address these challenges?
Learning environments are particularly interesting from a user-centred design and co-design viewpoint. Traditionally, learning environments have been provided by educational institutions without user involvement and have often epitomised power and discipline over users. Recently, the emphasis has shifted to more design participation. This also brings forth the question of inclusiveness and equality. How can we design spaces of learning that empower people and bring them together, supporting diversity, personal growth and social transformation?
In this course, we approach learning environments as a systemic design challenge necessitating the understanding of both the philosophies and methods of learning, the needs and experiences of people, and the role of physical space. In addition to built form, services and technology can be important elements in learning environments. Our main focus is on secondary schools in Finland, but we also consider other types of learning spaces, such as universities, libraries, museums, etc.
The design task in the course is to develop a human-centred concept for future learning environment. The concept is grounded on research and case examples in the field, user knowledge and systematic concept design methods. In the process, we are supported by doctoral candidate Minna Lumme, who has long experience as pedagogue and facilitator of co-design in schools.
Course details and practicalities
- The course comprises lectures, reading circle, learning diary and a concept level design project done in groups.
- Workload is 10 ects = 270 study hours, of which 70 contact teaching.
- The course starts on Wed 11 April at 9:15 and ends on Fri 25 May.
- Teaching hours are Wednesdays at 09:15–15:00 and Fridays at 09:15–14:00, with one hour lunch break.
- More detailed schedule can be found here.
- Location most days is Project Room A6
in the Arabiakeskus side of Aalto ARTS campus (Hämeentie 135 A).
(Go over the small bridge that leads from the 4th floor gallery to the Dean's Office and continue straight forward.)
Dr. of Arts, University Lecturer
Spatial and Service Design
Aalto ARTS, Dept. of Design (room 7058)
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.