Krista Smathers-IDP 116 Reflection #1

In IDP 116, Reading Response by Krista Smathers

Design thinking emphasizes human-centered design solutions achieved through a creative prototyping process. This reading clarified this idea, as well as what is to be expected during a collaborative prototyping process. What struck me as especially interesting was the assertion that, “complex problems are not only technical in nature but have an equally complex social and real-world dimension.” In my study of architecture, I attempt to acknowledge more of the social aspects as opposed to exclusively theoretical, aesthetic ones. The statement from the reading encouraged me to reflect on how architects tend to design with this multiplicity of factors in mind. While on the one hand, one might consider building codes and structural constraints, a good architect would also consider how patrons interact with the building as environment. The extent to which one takes precedence over the other remains to be determined by those tasked with designing. To establish the priorities of a design, especially if they are intended to be human-centered, requires collaborative discourse, as each contributor brings new perspectives to the table, which are representative of the diversity of potential users. Through personal experience, I have learned that when multiple people with different areas of expertise collaborate, it increases the range of design solutions proposed. I think this strategy is already very present in the field of architecture, which is—to some degree—inherently human centered. Architects need to collaborate not only with structural engineers, but also often interior and lighting designers, public officials, and many other groups determined by the type of project. Synthesizing the ideas from many different specialists into one design while maintaining one’s own to create a new human experience is ultimately what architects are charged with. In this class, I hope to learn to effectively construct a two-way street for communication of ideas between people from different backgrounds to reach a consensus in the form of a physical design.