Thursday, November 10, 2011

Designing 'critical thinking': Infusing criticality into a design & media lesson

In part 2 of these series of articles on critical thinking, I would like to continue to go a little deeper into the architectural re-designing lessons that my students have gone through for their semestral project.

Whereas in Part 1, I have explained about the student's work and primary considerations when redesigning an old existing structure, in part 2, I would like to mention a little more about the student's more creative 'pursuits' when given a location that they are more familiar with, albeit still limited by certain constraints.

One of the locations that the students were given an option was the current site in which the school was located. With the view that the current school building would be vacated by the year's end, students were given that option of working on proposals of what could the current site be converted into, bearing in mind the need to balance the considerations within the community, and of future considerations.

Students taking up the redesigning project for the current site were quick to point out the limitations that they had, nevermind the fact that the building is the one that they are most familiar with, out of the 3 other options that were given to them. And even though there was a great degree of familiarity with almost every nook and cranny of the current site, the ideas proposed were sometimes more uncommon (read: creative) than common, and it seems a little refreshing for students to be working on making something that they are familiar with into something 'unfamiliar'.

The 2 visuals above is one of the ideas proposed for the current site that was mentioned. The idea here is  to 're-architect' it so as to serve the purpose of those staying nearby. A more modern-looking dining and a little backyard look-and-feel are incorporated into the designs, bearing in mind the need to make the whole experience less urban, with that added greenery at the rooftop. An open concept was also adopted, to give visitors that experience of openness, very much needed in land-scarce Singapore.

The details that go into the overall look and feel, whilst being sensitive to the needs of the immediate community is perhaps major considerations that the student have taken into account while working on the project. Drawing inspiration from the shape of the regular hexagon, the student have also gone deeper into architecting the internal look and feel of the whole structure, with the aim that the new re-designed use of the current site is totally different than that it has been designed and built for, decades ago.

More details and examples of the projects done by this, and other students, are available her at this SITE.

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