Sep '08 - Feb '09
Term begins next Monday and I'm still swamped with stuff to do. Currently thrashing out the second draft of my dissertation due in Oct. 15th. My paper is essentially on how we as part of architectural institutions should be using social software (i.e blogs/wikis/etc.) as a way of not only aiding the schools of architecture maintain day to day operations, but also aiding the studio based design process by establishing a kind of 'online culture' to discuss architecture. Essentially, it's transplanting pats of Archinect straight into the school's and becoming part of something much larger through networking. I've copied and pasted the abstract here:
"This proposal explores the possibility of creating a social topology that exists within the Sheffield School of Architecture through the medium of the School's website. Through the use of case studies in other economic and academic fields, it is feasible to develop and maintain a social structure that directly benefits the school in terms of it's pedagogical and organisational potential, through the utilisation of social software, a typology of computer supported collaboration. The paper focuses on architectural education as a social space that exists with, and apart from, the values of architectural education as commodity. As a progressive architectural institution, we simply cannot think of the website as just a website. The term 'website' in itself sounds limiting. There is potential to create a rich social and learning environment online - a space in which the institution inhabits and shares with the world that goes beyond the physical parameters of the design studio - we should be thinking about this open platform as a natural extension of the Sheffield School of Architecture."
This diagram shows how inbuilt interface features solves the problem of coordination of information through use of the system, as opposed to an institutional approach of forming a group to specifically edit the information.
I'd be really interested to hear anyones thoughts on this and their own experiences - Archinect's School Blogs are a great example of this, as they essentially project an image of a school's ethos through the eyes of the user. If anyone is really interested, drop me a line and I'd be happy to send over extracts of where I'm at.
In other news, the pre-live project meeting went well. Live Projects are an initiative which takes groups of masters students and works with real clients in real time for the first 6 weeks of term. It's a really great way of contextualizing our ethos by working with real people. Some of you may be aware of the built elements that have appeared in the Architects Journal Small Projects awards over the last couple of years, but the range of projects is breathtaking.
Last year one group of students investigated urine as a binding agent for mud bricks, for possible use in war torn nations such as Sudan (more: http://www.article-25.org), whilst others focused on local issues, such as design proposals for a popular public park here in Sheffield. The project I'm involved in this year is essentially an extension of my design project from earlier on this year. Details will follow next week, but the project focuses on the question of mapping out sustainable food sources across the entire city of Sheffield - we will be working with a great local food growing group called Grow Sheffield (http://www.growsheffield.com) and will be looking at food from the scale of gardens to the city as a whole.
From last year's project. Here I've identified catchment areas for potential food growing in an inner city neighbourhood in Sheffield. Mapping exercises such as this will inform our Live Project this year.
For more on Live Projects visit http://www.liveprojects.org
The site is pretty updated as we need to link up last years work but googling some key terms will lead you to the relevant material for anyone interested.
Til' next week,