Transforming the Built Environment


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project 3 for Design Education course

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Transforming the Built Environment

  1. 1. Transforming The Built Environment <br />Our project aims to motivate students to notice the built environment surrounding them and to ask questions about this environment, eventually constructing their own creative answers. The project starts by assigning the students into groups of two who will walk around a pre-determined area of their city, photographing blemishes, decay or imperfections that they see on buildings. The cause of these blemishes must be ambiguous; therefore, graffiti, for instance, would not be a good example of something to photograph, whereas a gash or peeled-away paint would be suitable. Students will be encouraged to photograph the blemish both in its larger context and also up close. Students should also think about varying the viewpoints of their photographs. Students will be required to take at least 20 photographs.<br />When students return to class, each team of two will be instructed to select their favorite image from all of the images that they took. (Only one image will be chosen for each pair of students.) Each student must then take this image and come up with a story that explains how the blemish came to be on the building. Stories may range from completely feasible to utterly whimsical or fantastical. Each student will transform the image they chose to visually tell the story they imagine, using either Photoshop, collage, or a combination of both. By the end of the project, each pair of students will have transformed the same image but devised their own unique narrative of how the blemish arrived there.<br />
  2. 2. Class Plans<br />The class periods, each 90 minutes, will be as follows:<br />Class 1: Show students visual references that deal with the built environment and collage. Assign students into groups of two. Give students photographing instructions and send students out to take pictures. Homework: With your partner, choose your favorite image from all 40 images taken by the two of you.<br />Class 2: Introduce the project to students. The remainder of the class is working time. Homework: Finish your project and bring in the file ready to print for next class.<br />Class 3: Students will be allowed 30 minutes to print their images. For the remaining hour, the class will critique each student’s work. <br />
  3. 3. Benefits<br />By doing this project we hope to inspire students to be more observant inhabitants of their neighborhoods. By having students not only notice their environment but ask questions about it, we aim to shape them as citizens who think critically about how it is made, what could be improved about it, and how they might be involved in any part of that process. Having students imagine their own story behind the blemish develops their problem-solving skills while at the same time giving them broad creative freedom. Finally, assigning the project as a Photoshop and/or collaged image helps students to apply their technical artistic and design knowledge toward creating something that communicates a core idea.<br />
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  20. 20. Choose the Best or Your Favorite Image to Transform<br />