Design Methodologies: A Retrospective

Design Methodologies module is divided into three main fragments that commonly exist in a design process. By doing this, we are forced to be completely self aware on our own way of designing. For myself, knowing and separating those different fragments enable me to examine them more clearly and find the missing links. I also able to draw the relation between each fragments and raise issues that is usually a very intricate process for me because I was always wrapped on piles of information and opinion that make me hard to focused. However, I believe that getting through each phase with full awareness will give you clearer vision on what you are doing and thus make you a better architect.

The first fragment is SITE. In the context of a site, I am interested to see how people use a site. How people walk in it, play with it, have memories and shape it through time to time. I like to observe how a site connects with its surrounding through people activities and perform a kind of culture or way of life. My idea about site could be viewed from Nigel Coates point of view, ‘street as the artery of a city’ [1], that makes people as the blood, that bring a space to its life.

The second fragment is RESPONSE. From the past sessions, I would conclude myself as a utopian architect, the kind of architect that believes ‘design will save the world’ [2] , or at least make it better. My response always corresponds with that. I always relate any phenomenon in the site and its relationship with the user and people in its surrounding, and see how I could raise an issue to perform any change.

The third fragment is MAKE. This is the toughest part for me, because it is the phase when we are supposed to make decisions as architects. And because my interest usually rely on the social part of the problem, it makes my data usually are very abstract and intangible. I would refer my way of making with Samuel Mockbee. He thinks that 'architecture is a social art' [3], and carefully determines the need of the clients, user, recipients and neighbours before making decisions. I have always questioned those things and relate it to the issue which I want to raise in every part of my making process. Would it work socially? Will it be marked as a way of change? I made my decisions in designing by making my own tangible parameter based on the answers, but by doing that the parameter would become very personal and subjective, thus it still need to be adjusted.

1. Rick Poynor. Nigel Coates: The City in Motion. Thames and Hudson, London.1984.
3. Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley. Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 2002.