Design Tools & Skills One Syllabus

August 2, 2012

Download Syllabus (.pdf file)

Project 1. Auto Parts: Line Studies (2 weeks)

Freehand drawing exercises that challenge the student to develop critical methods of seeing and techniques of representation through freehand pencil drawings, that focus primarily on the quality of the line. The initial exercises begin by studying qualities of lines in the development of gradients and contour drawings. Following initial exercises, the students will be given a three dimensional object and will be asked to make a freehand one to one set of drawings of the object. This project is intended to occur as a conceptual parallel with the first Design Studio project, where the primary focus is on the transformation of a line.

Project 1.1: Auto Parts: Line Studies: Tone, Density, & Continuity
Freehand pencil drawing exercise with a given object (automobile parts – one per group of 3-4 students). The students will first develop line studies that investigate the material relationship between the line and the paper to explore differences in tonal gradient that can be established through the variation in line weight and density of line.

Project 1.2: Auto Parts: Line Studies: Exteriors
Freehand pencil drawing exercise with the same given object from the previous project. The student will begin to draw exterior views of the object with a continuous line (contour line), beginning with a series of three dimensional views and moving toward an understanding of planar projections – elevations.

Project 1.3: Auto Parts: Line Studies: 1:1 Elevations & Regulating Lines
Freehand pencil drawing exercise with the same given object from the previous project. Building on the previous exercises, the student will continue to produce 1:1 scale drawings of the objects. This project focuses on developing an understanding of planar projection of exteriors (frontal elevations, side elevations, top elevations, bottom elevations) and establishing a relationship between the drawings through regulating lines. Line weight and regulating lines are key in the development of a set of drawings. The student will discuss with their instructor their plan for sectioning the object by marking their drawings with the imaginary cut lines.

Project 1.4: Auto Parts: Line Studies: 1:1 Sections & Plans
Freehand pencil drawing exercise with the same given object from the previous project. Students will continue to develop a set of 1:1 scale drawings of the given objects. Students will draw sections through the given object. One may not be able to see into the “interior” of the objects, and does not literally cut the objects, therefore the prior drawings will be required in order to create accurate sections of the objects. The section should be drawn using continuous lines. The topics of line weight, depth, and topological continuity will be discussed relative to the concept of cutting sections.

Project 2: Kinetic Object Inquiry: Constructed Lines (2 weeks)

Inquiry into a kinetic object through (technical) constructed line drawings. Objects will be given to the students that have a functional performance and at least one moving part (some example objects: wine opener, scissors, garlic press, guitar capo, pliers, ice crusher, etc). This project introduces methods of descriptive geometry; the precise description of three dimensional forms in a two dimensional drawing by geometric construction using a compass and straight edge and pencil, as well as methods of analysis. Also central to this project is the discussion of drawing layout, the relationship between types of drawings, representing movement, and sequence.

Project 3: Proportion & Pattern (1.5 weeks)

Freehand pencil drawing exercises that shift in scale to large scale inquiries of the constructed environment. The students will be asked to use previously learned techniques to draw facades, plans, and sections of buildings with a focus on proportional relationships and patterns.

Project 3.1: Proportion & Pattern: Facade
Freehand pencil drawing study of proportion and pattern within a single facade. An analytical exercise that challenges students to derive relationships between elements and establish hierarchies through the use of regulating lines and line weight.

Project 3.2: Proportion & Pattern: Plan
Freehand pencil drawing study of proportion and pattern within a single building floor plan. An analytical exercise that challenges students to derive relationships between elements and establish hierarchies through the use of regulating lines and line weight. Students should actively move through the space in order to construct the plan. What is included in a plan drawing and what is excluded? Where does one cut the section and what is the level of abstraction that is required in order to describe formal relationships?

Project 3.3: Proportion & Pattern: Section
Freehand pencil drawing study of proportion and pattern within a single building section or series of sections. An analytical exercise that challenges students to derive relationships between elements and establish hierarchies through the use of regulating lines and line weight. Students should actively move through the space in order to construct the section and may need to include elements of the building plan in order to construct the section.

Project 4: Form & Deformation (3 weeks)

The construction of a three dimensional form and the strategic deformation of the volume. The project establishes rigor in model making craft as well as introduces three dimensional orthographic drawing techniques. The drawings will precisely describe the deformation in the model.

Project 4.1. Form & Deformation: Model
The student will build a model from specifications given by the brief. The objective is to establish good craft in model making as well as developing inventive methods of assembly.

Project 4.2. Form & Deformation: Deformed Model
The student will build a deformed iteration of the initial model based on a given transformation rule. The objective again is to establish good craft practices and inventive methods of assembly. Conceptually, the student should consider how the deformation affects or informs the process of assembly and how individual parts relate to the whole volume.

Project 4.3. Form & Deformation: Axonometric Drawing
The student will create a three dimensional axonometric drawing of both the original model and the deformed model. Aside from the technique of constructing a three dimensional drawing, line weight, and how to represent hidden lines, students should consider the relationship between the two drawings and how the process of deformation can be conveyed in the drawing.

Project 4.4. Unfolding
Students will be assigned to bring an three dimensional object that can be partially or fully unfolded into a two dimensional planar form. The project not only addresses the technical aspects of unfolding a three dimensional form into a two dimensional representation, but also requires the student to think analytically about sequence and the process of transformation. These drawings will build upon the previous exercise by introducing an exploded axonometric drawing and methods of unfolding an axonometric drawing into a planar projection.

Project 5: Wood Shop (2 weeks)

Students will learn to work within the constraints of a material – wood – using subtractive and additive processes. Safe working practices and wood working techniques will be addressed. This project coincides with the “Design Games” project in Design Studio, allowing students to use the wood shop to fabricate their models during class time.

Workshop: Documentation (1 class – 0.5 weeks)

One day workshop that introduces techniques for the archival documentation of student work, including photographic techniques, lighting, scanning drawings, file systems for archives, and post production.

Project 6: Aggregation, Modularity, & Complex Geometry (2 weeks)

The physical construction of large scale (inhabitable prototypes) beginning with studies using standard members and rule based systems (aggregation and modularity) to generate formal systems. The documentation of the system and the relationship between parts and the behavior of parts relative to a global assembly. The final outcome of this project will result in large scale structures.

Project 7: Projections (2 weeks)

Students will be introduced to perspective projection and anamorphic projection beginning with freehand drawing of perspectives (one point perspective, two point perspective, and three point perspective) and conclude with a site specific anamorphic perspective. This project takes into consideration techniques of constructing a perspective and the embodied experience of a subject relative to the projection in situ.

Recommended Reading, Related Media, and Precedents

  1. The Brothers Quay, Anamorphosis , or, De Artificiali Perspectiva. (1991) available at: http://youtu.be/yvIdcF6485w (accessed 16 July 2012)
  2. Felice Varini, Fabiola Lopez-Duran, Lars Muller, Felice Varini: Point of View, (Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2004)
  3. Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors, Oil on Oak (London: National Gallery, 1553).