Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
This paper introduces a project developed for college students at a senior level and in a graduate program of architectural design curriculum, taking the Seminar on Housing Theory. The intention of this writing assignment is to provide students with an opportunity to examine and articulate their personal views about dwelling issues, so as to better prepare for future design practice, applying the key relationships between human needs and particular design responses. Students are asked to recall their personal dwelling experiences as they relate to various stages of their life and development. They are encouraged to think in terms of the environmental character of a place and its significance, illustrated by images, particular events, involved participants, and using other descriptions or questions that evolve as relevant in this process. In order to bring their investigation to conclusion, and with the intention to broaden the awareness of the personal and common attitudes being discussed, students are encouraged to address additional considerations such as: current dwelling experiences and concerns; understanding of important human developmental and dwelling needs characteristic for specific group, family type, or individual case as appropriate; context of physical environmental conditions; social and community issues; personal preferences for particular housing forms and their characteristics, etc. The format of this essay is expected to relate to the nature of the issues and situation students would be describing, incorporating descriptive verbal and graphic information as appropriate. Suggested forms include analytical report, descriptive essay, poem, or a personal letter, selected to best share and articulate personal thoughts.
As an example of phenomenological approach in housing theory, this class assignment may also offer a potential research application strategy for educators who seek to enhance architectural design curricula integrating qualitative research methodologies.
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