Design Education Matters

07Feb15

Three leading educators on the continuing importance of design schools

Why should someone invest in design school today?

Amale Andraos, dean of Columbia GSAPP: Design education combines particular expertise with the ability to work collaboratively, build teams across different fields, and visualize the forces shaping the built environment. As we increasingly face the challenges of climate change across scales and the globe, I think the ability to re-present, which is at the foundation of design education and thinking, is more critical than ever.

Hernan Diaz Alonso, graduate programs chair, incoming SCI-Arc director: Design has been an important aspect of our culture for a very long time. The opportunities open to designers today are clearly unprecedented, mainly due to the shifting nature of contemporary culture, which promotes a peculiar mix of hyper-specialization and intellectual holism. Designers are required to constantly negotiate between these extremes and to be an expert in their projects. This means having to be fluent in skill sets ranging from theoretical writing to cutting-edge fabrication methods. Dexterity is mandatory, and this is definitely something that contemporary design education stimulates and fine-tunes in students.

Christopher Scoates, director of Cranbrook Academy of Art: The critical and public definition of what constitutes art and design practice has changed dramatically over the past 25 years. So it’s imperative that design education address the new cultural space of the twenty-first century. It’s a designer’s job to turn things upside down and explore both the limits of future thinking and the limits of existing technology, with the goal of setting a broad viewpoint on problem solving. Designers are on the front line of figuring out how humans interface with completely new products, services, and spaces. That seems like a good reason to invest in design education.

Read the full article here

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