Break It Till You Make It: A design studio for problem-finding

Jose De Carvalho Paixao, Florian Fend, Urs Leonhard Hirschberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


In a context where architectural education is undergoing great transformations due to the impact of digital technology, the authors present a design studio model that rather than teaching how to operate the tool en vogue focuses on the formulation of questions. Traditional pedagogic practices have privileged answers in knowledge production, but an alternative is proposed. A methodology was devised in which problem-finding is moved forward by an iterative process of experimental making. This was tested in Winter 2017 with results showing a diversity in questions raised, but also the premature discontinuation of several paths of inquiry. Only one completed all 6 planned iterations and benefited from the final, in which the building of a 1:1 prototype informed its research focus. The conclusions highlight the contribution of this model in preparing future practitioners with an attitude of inquiry and drive to experiment that will resist obsoleteness from rapid technological developments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputing for a better tomorrow
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 36th eCAADe Conference
Place of PublicationLodz
PublisherLodz University of Technology
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Architectural Education
  • Design Studio
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Material Systems
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Wood Construction

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