Collaborative Design Engineering Studio I (with SEAS)

The first year MDE studio provides the students the opportunity to bridge the gaps between academic fields and practical, real-world stakeholders, and fosters a design intelligence that engages quantitative and qualitative thinking, combining computational, visual, experimental, strategic, and aesthetic methods.  The course employs design and systems thinking broadly, and emphasizes that design is not as a verb or a noun, but more as the process of realizing intention, and it is the innovative and integrative process of synthesis to create a coherent whole. 

During the first-semester, the MDE Studio confront students with conceptual interactions, sympathies, and open questions between design, engineering, and science.  The course considers project-based design exercises, contemporary case studies, organized methodological development, and historical instances of both people and projects which have synthesized design and engineering tendencies. The intent is to critically engage the design engineering domain, while also exposing students to a range of sympathetic roles for who the design engineer is, and what tools he or she uses to analyze, imagine, and communicate. Students will be challenged to identify and critically consider their own models – methodological and personal – for design engineering.

This first semester Studio consists of three projects, each intended to develop key skills and methods for a specific subdomain of design engineering: Information Design, Object Design, and Spatial Design.  These projects cumulatively give each student appropriate foundational skills, and collectively ensure that the cohort has a common ethos.  This year, the project focus of the Studio will be health systems, specifically aging and disability, and the sensory and prosthetic possibilities for transforming these conditions.  Each of the three projects will engage these themes, while cumulatively developing a body of research which will be carried forward to the following semester.

The formal meetings of the studio will be into two weekly sessions.  Mondays will be primarily reserved for a project pinups and desk critics, while Wednesdays will provide structured lecture and workshop material and toolkits.  Guests will be invited to present perspectives and directions.s.