Open Design as an Education Tool in Architectural Studies

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Vazakas, Alexandros Theocharis
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Lecturer, School of Architectural Engineering, Technical University of Crete
Section: Reflection on Teaching
Page(s): 638-643
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


The paper presents a course that introduces Architecture students to product design, materials, techniques and fabrication processes. The course uses a combination of digital fabrication tools and parametric design software – a combination often cited as “Open design”. It also uses a rapid prototyping laboratory which among other things facilitates the transition from design to the actual product. Designing a chair is under a certain perspective no different than designing a building. There is a different context, different constraints but both are essentially design processes involving craft, geometry, materiality, function, structure and fabrication. The fusion between the disciplines of Architecture and Product Design attempted in this 4th year course focuses in a way of making architecture where the process of construction is as important as the form itself. A paradox is then created: by using the most advanced technological tools, the act of building is conceptually closer to its primitive form. The architect is also a craftsman, able to shape matter with his own tools. The paper presents the core theory behind the course and the results during its 4 year long history within the curriculum of an Architecture School.

Keywords: Digital Fabrication, Craft, Open Design, Associative Design


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