Design Education All Over The Place: On dimensions of design education, the peculiar place of RPDs and assessment

A/Prof Greg Missingham
2015 Conference

There is greater diversity in design education than studio teaching. After sketching that diversity, the paper considers three kinds of research projects conducted through design, briefly considering the relationships between texts and creative works.

In its major part, assessment of studio design projects (SDPs) on dimensions of complexity is shown to underplay additional, direct features of assessment of students often entailed in evaluation of the projects. Assessment of research projects by design (RPDs) is less parochial, being positioned in a historical and global context. Further, it is much less directly comparative or competitive. But, there are two key differences. The first is between the assessment of a SDP’s design quality compared with assessment of a RPD’s contribution to knowledge. The second difference entails greater emphasis on a RPD candidate’s demonstrated understanding of their own achievement.

Final remarks comment on what the SDP and RPD assessment situations share. Taken together, the issues concern positioning project and self within the stream of precedent, of designs and/or research findings. Perhaps the developing body of knowledge characteristic of a research tradition might only begin to accumulate when pre-professionals are required as part of their training to develop the requisite habits.

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About the author

Greg Missingham has taught architectural design in Australia and China for over 35 years and practiced architecture for over 20. He has supervised PhDs on ethics, epiphany and architectural education, abstract art and Chinese gardens, and design for aged care, law courts, government and education. His research focuses on design that satisfies both people’s expectations of their built environment and designers’ desires to be artists. Published in Australasia, Europe, the United States and Asia, he is currently preparing a book on diverse architectural design approaches using dilemmas in the contemporary design of Chinese gardens as case studies.