Designing the Learning Process in Detail Design Education (*)

Increasing market of building materials, the progress of sustainable development, as well as constant change of legal requirements, demand a change of focus in architectural design education in general, and detail design in particular, from presenting (definite) solutions toward designing the learning process itself.

Considering the concept of process oriented architectural education, we want to revert to interesting study from educational research field. According to Belamaric (1986),  the children in their early age, still in possession of authentic artistic expression, do conceive and represent their (build) surroundings in terms of processes, rather than icons. The house, for example, is drawn as space defined not by objects (walls), but by presence of life processes; these are recognised as such through being in motion and are represented with circular lines, Fig.1.
The next level of understanding implies recognition of the variety of forms and objects (circles) in the house, which are also seen as being different in size and having different relations to each other. But still, between all these separate units there is a connecting element: the movement, the life, the process, Fig.2.


Only later, mostly under the influence of adults, who try to teach children how to draw “properly” i.e. “understandable”, the “iconic phase” begins – the phase of reproduction of pictures (signs), not necessarily understanding the process involved.
The conclusion we can draw from this study is that process oriented observation is our first tool in acquiring understanding of the world that surrounds us; it is the most natural way for us to learn.

The aim of  process oriented education in the subject of detailed design is to enable ongoing architects to become competent team players, who are able to conduct dialog with building industry, rather than being just consumers in the global “supermarket” of building techniques and materials.

Forging the understanding of processes can lead to synergy of design and construction (aesthetics and function), confirming once again that constructing is designing and vice versa, designing is constructing. This premise can be found in all levels of planning, but its most significant and obvious implementation can indeed be discovered in detail.

Importance of developing the analytical abilities considering the technical aspects of detail construction is to be acknowledged, but at the same time, we should encourage the abductive process of synthesis when deductively gained knowledge is to be applied in detail design.

(*) Excerpt from Conference Paper (DDIA, Istanbul 2011)