Course Description: The semester’s work incorporates a public interest design approach that is part of the Gulf Coast DesignLab’s gulfcoastdesignlab.org mission. Through community-based engagement you: 1) learn skills that enable you to provide a fitting design for your stakeholder; 2) develop your ability to investigate the site and its immediate coastal region, resulting in a design sympathetic to its locale; 3) increase your potential as a designer through a design / build process by:
A. Meeting your stakeholder and visiting the site for design criteria,
B. Gathering information to design, individually and as a group, the project,
C. Developing and presenting your work to the stakeholder,
D. Providing a set of construction drawings for local building authority approval,
E. Ordering materials for fabrication,
F. Building portions of your design on campus that ship to the site,
G. Installing your built design on site,
H. Presenting your completed project to the stakeholder.
Your stakeholder this semester is Artist Boat artistboat.org of Galveston. Through eco-art kayak trips in the West Galveston Bay, this non-profit provides environmental education opportunities for middle and high school students from economically disadvantaged public schools in the region. Paddling the wetlands, these students participate in arts and sciences exercises as a way to develop a greater appreciation of coastal habitats. By highlighting the richness of the local environment the participants not only better appreciate the local habitat but develop an attitude of stewardship. Providing new structures to facilitate this, your project is located on an undeveloped eight-hundred-acre site overlooking the bay side of Galveston Island. Facing a salt marsh and bay beyond, you are to design and build a kayak storage facility for sixteen kayaks, art supplies and environmental educational materials. With the storage structure you are also to design and build a shade structure that accommodates thirty individuals participating in the stakeholder’s education program.
Several field trips will take place during the semester—first, to investigate and document the local coastal area, then the site where you’ll work. Then you’ll return to the Park to test your ideas during the design phase. And then finally there will be three trips (extended weekends) to install your built work. In total, expect to spend 14-16 days on the coast. The stakeholder will cover your travel and lodging expenses for your time away from campus.
Note: This studio is supported by a required seminar—The Ethics of Engaging Changing Coastal Communities—taught in conjunction with the studio. Students taking this advanced design studio are required to take the seminar. Please refer to Spring 2017 seminar listing for a more thorough description.
Pedagogic Objectives: Through a public interest design approach nurture more diverse, vibrant and poetic ways to: 1) develop skills for engaging your stakeholder through field-based engagement; 2) recognize that each design is intrinsically part of and responsive to its larger social and environmental context; 3) explore and express the poetic found in materiality, the temporal, the project’s context and its larger environment; 4) implement that newfound understanding through an applied research approach of building what you designed.
Required Material: You will need what’s typically required in design studio along with incidental drawing items such as graphite pencils, charcoal, illustration board, drawing pads and typical model-making material. Along with these each student is required to have few basic construction tools for the evidence-based research phase: tape measure, speed square, utility belt, etc. If you don’t already have these instructions as to what’s required will be given.
Required Texts: Selected by instructor and as coordinated through accompanying seminar.