Expansive design: design with contradictions


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Contradictions are social relationships that have a long history and cannot be solved by any design effort. What design can do is to deal with these contradictions in an expansive way, projecting them into the future. Then, it is possible to get ready to deal with contradictions once they come.

Published in: Design

Expansive design: design with contradictions

  1. 1. 1 Expansive design: design with contradictions Frederick van Amstel, PhD Researcher Construction Management & Engineering Dept.
  2. 2. Healthcare design is based on representations of activity... 2Plans for a new Medical Imaging Center.
  3. 3. …that may not match the future activity! 3Plans for a new Medical Imaging Center.
  4. 4. Expansive design anticipates the future of activity. 4Plans for a new Medical Imaging Center.
  5. 5. People who actually do the activity participate in design… 5Workshop about a new Medical Imaging Center.
  6. 6. …expanding their possibilities for activity. 6Second workshop for a new Medical Imaging Center.
  7. 7. Technical problems  How to mediate participation in design?  How to design tools to support mediation?  How to represent activity in space models? 7
  8. 8. Philosophical problem -Why… doing… that? 8 • A philosophical problem does not have a technical solution, but can inspire technical solutions • Henri Lefebvre problematized space and activity
  9. 9. Problems stem from contradictions 9 Images are misleading. Art is useless. Rene Magritte
  10. 10. Contradictions are concrete, not abstract (out of context) 10
  11. 11. Principal contradiction 11 “Where then is the principal contradiction to be found [in capitalism]? Between the capacity to conceive and treat space on a global (or worldwide) scale on the one hand, and its fragmentation by a multiplicity of procedures or processes, all fragmentary themselves, on the other.” (Lefebvre, 1991:355)
  12. 12. Homogeneization and fragmentation of the body 12 Marilene Oliver Leonardo da Vinci 500 years
  13. 13. Homogeneization and fragmentation of care 13Layouts collected from the Medical Imaging Center project. The forces pushing change are not visible.
  14. 14. Designing with my “contradictory” tool 14Student experiment Activity is visible while designing.
  15. 15. Mapping the design space 15 All practitioner’s designs All student’s designs ≈
  16. 16. Findings  The design space reproduces the contradictions in activity  Contradictions are simultaneously cause and effect of design  If contradictions won’t go away, what can we do? 16
  17. 17. -Enjoy life. 17
  18. 18. A game fueled by contradictions 18The Expansive Hospital Game
  19. 19. What students learn from playing the game 19 Design problems are not solved in the mind. Design problems are solved in social activity.
  20. 20. What students learn from playing the game  Socialize the design space (instead of keeping it mental)  Deal with confrontation  Create hybrid solutions (different interests, views, techniques)  Implement hybrid solutions  Respect individuality  Keep the collaborative mindset 20
  21. 21. 21 My Research Interests  Participatory Design  Activity Theory  Cultural Studies  Frederick van Amstel f.vanamstel@utwente.nl  Twitter @fredvanamstel  http://fredvanamstel.com