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design

This tag is associated with 28 posts

Introducing hermeneutics to an architectural audience

Hermeneutics is of course simply the study of interpretation — what interpretation is, and how it works. But to study hermeneutics requires you to come to terms with the philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur. To gain entry into hermeneutical discourse the scholar needs to come to terms with a particular collection of books and essays (a … Continue reading

Milking human kindness

I once knew someone who carried his money and credit cards around in a tattered, faded and frayed leather wallet, though he could afford better. I once asked why he didn’t buy himself a new wallet. He said, “There’s no need. I have a drawer full of perfectly good wallets. They were gifted to me over the years … Continue reading

Copy edits

No matter how careful you are in following style guides, there’s still a job of work in correcting bibliographies. Here’s a page after the copy editor and I have had a go at it. Back in the 1990s the author would receive paper copy bristling with little plastic tags and hand written notes. Now it’s … Continue reading

Design hermeneutics revisited

What’s the difference between an artwork and a design? The worst insult you can give to a work of art is to ignore it. The worse thing you can do to a design is to treat it as a work of art — i.e. not to use it. This is an argument advanced by philosopher Nicholas … Continue reading

Life-changing technologies

Devices, programs, and apps enable us to do things we couldn’t do otherwise. This is undoubtedly their main value. But they also reveal something about ourselves (i.e. the human species) and the world we live in. Smartphones obviously enable communication over distance and while on the move. They also reveal that we are mobile creatures, … Continue reading

Bad metaphors

“Osborn pushes the nuclear button”: That’s a clever headline from the Guardian this week, leading an article about the UK Chancellor’s invitation for Chinese investment in the UK nuclear energy programme. The headline is a joke, but also a metaphor. A literalist would read it as a lie. For the rest of us it’s simply … Continue reading

Art challenges life

Artists, designers, curators and critics might have difficulty writing about art were it not for the useful word “challenge.” So fashion designer “Walter Van Beirendonck has continued to challenge conventional fashion trends with his distinctive vision” (link). Here are some other obvious examples. “Banksy challenges British cultural identity with warped, twisted versions of British icons” … Continue reading

Interpretation by design

As for all the arts, it’s easy enough to indicate how important interpretation is in architecture. Designers interpret the clients’ and users’ requirements, the brief, the regulations, and the site. They also interpret buildings and texts about architecture, not to mention drawings, instructions, illustrations, and photographs. In keeping with the conceits of this proud art … Continue reading

Lego logics

There’s been a lot on reddit lately about Lego bricks: How many Legos, stacked one on top of the other, would it take to destroy the bottom brick? There’s lots to learn from toy construction sets, not least how creativity happens … or doesn’t. In the first flush of enthusiasm for artificial intelligence and automated … Continue reading

What’s a modem?

A note from the past: Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a class of computer-based technologies that assist people to get in touch with each other, a facility taken for granted in universities since the inception of the Internet and electronic mail (email) in the 1970s, and now finding its way into the business world. What are … Continue reading

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