OCEAN Design Research Association

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A system approach to design learning.

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system-approach

A system approach to design learning.

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Abstract

For the last few years some design studios at the Oslo School of Architecture have explored a system oriented perspective to design. The background and ultimate motivation is caused by globalisation. The human world is becoming increasingly entangled in networks of complex interdependencies and relations. An intervention or systemic change in Europe can have critical impact some where else on the planet. Even seemingly insignificant artefacts have an influence on the systemic context they are embedded in. If we want to solve the resource situation for the future and avoid the destruction of the planet we need a consistent concern with the systemic influences of our artefacts and actions. More than ever it matters what we do and how we do it. Today we talk of sustainability in a much more inclusive way than before. The social, political, material and technological sides of sustainability are interlinked.

The project presented here is an example of a system oriented approach in design education. It is a collaboration between the Deichmannske Library in Oslo, two student groups at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and the HFG Offenbach, the design research network OCEAN and involved professionals from the company YNOR as in Norway. Its main goal was to design and construct a number of media stations for the library. From the Oslo perspective it had a second intention; to train the skills needed to involve in very complex design projects. The project created a learning environment that was highly complex and challenging for the students and researchers involved. The intention was to learn the skill of a system approach in design and to research better ways of doing this. This was only partly successful and there are some important lessons learned from the experience that could contribute further in the development of a system oriented approach in design education.

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