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 both a verb and a noun, the process of realizing intention. With systems thinking, it is the innovative and integrative process of synthesis to create a coherent whole.
During the first semester, the studio confronted students with conceptual interactions, sympathies, and questions between design, engineering, and science. Students completed 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 gave each student appropriate foundational skills, and collectively ensured that the cohort has a common ethos.
This year, the project focus of the Studio is health systems, specifically aging and disability, and the sensory and prosthetic possibilities for transforming these conditions. Each of the three first-semester projects engaged these themes, while cumulatively developing a body of research to be carried forward in the second semester.
During the second semester, teams will implement project proposals in concrete form, with an equal emphasis on creative innovation, technical sophistication, economic feasibility, and social utility. The formal meetings of the studio will be two weekly, three-hour sessions. Mondays will be primarily reserved for project pinups and desk critiques, while Wednesdays will provide structured lecture and workshop material and toolkits. Guests will be invited to present perspectives and directions.