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Sample Proposal: Independent Inquiry

School of Architecture

Please direct all questions about the flag proposal process to the Center for the Core Curriculum.

ARC 530T: Design VI

School of Architecture

How does the proposed course satisfy the flag requirements?*

Studio learning encourages independent thinking, dialogue, collaboration, risk-taking, innovation, and learning-by-doing. This educational system allows for one-on-one instruction in the pursuit of open-ended questions for which there may be no “right” or “wrong” answers, but rather more or less appropriate pursuits given the overall class project combined with the respective student’s interests. It is a synthetic form of education, where project-based learning is the foundation for an understanding of and commitment to the School’s core values — broadmindedness, interconnectivity, professionalism, exploration and activism — in service of architecture’s fundamental mission: to improve the quality of the built and natural environment. The design studio encourages students to ask questions and make proposals, which are developed and discussed in public presentations among classmates, faculty, visiting professionals, and the public-at-large.

Describe typical assignments related to Independent Inquiry.

Design studio encompasses a semester’s worth of inquiry from analytic investigations to synthetic solutions. Periodically throughout the semester, students present their work in public reviews or critiques, which is essential for broader perspectives as well as the development of effective verbal and visual presentation skills. Typically, design projects arise from the combination of a program (use) and site (location). In the pursuit of a design, students are often asked to further understand the parameters of the design problem before proceeding with an answer. These “analytic” explorations may include: experiential studies, space/function requirements, material or structural systems, historic typologies, City development patterns, social issues, public space, transportation, ecology and so on. After understanding the influences of the internal (program) and external (site) forces, the students begin an iterative (or cyclical) process in which they test the design against various scales of inhabitation. While the design outcome includes an overall or comprehensive understanding of the design at the scale of the site and building plans/sections/models, the students are also encouraged to develop a more intimate understanding of the design at the scale of inhabitation including materials, often represented in perspective, detail models, wall sections or elevations. A “final review” concludes the semester with invited faculty members and outside critics. Each student presents their work to 2-4 invited guests and receives feedback on the successes and weaknesses of their designs.

Please explain how at least one-third of the course grade is based on content related to Independent Inquiry.

The School affirms the value of design intention and design process as well as design product. The suggested grading policy for design studios encourages and evaluates the following: GRASP (the ideas and understanding of the project at hand, combined with an appropriate process of inquiry), PROCESS (the consistent and rigorous development and testing of ideas) and RESOLUTION (the demonstration of competence, completeness, and finesse through representation). In addition to the feedback and grading provided by the instructor, the students present their work in 2-5 public reviews per semester with other faculty, visiting professionals, students and, potentially, the community which is essential for broader perspectives as well as the development of effective verbal and visual presentation skills. The grading approach to design studio as described above is applied to all projects given within the course of a semester. Again, the full semester is devoted to “independent inquiry” in the studio environment.

*The questions on the Independent Inquiry proposal form have changed since this proposal was submitted. Please see the Independent Inquiry Proposal Tips page for the current questions.

Return to Proposal Tips: Independent Inquiry.