From: Howard Ray Lawrence <howardl@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 12:18:57 -0800
On Saturday, November 15, 2003 10:50 AM, Steve Lauf remanded, in part, the following:
". . .For example, I see all the activity at/through design-l as an ongoing, global, and (yes) virtual symposium were the design of all kinds of "urban, architectural, furniture, intelligent object, painting, sculpture, installation" and political designs are presented and/or offered for discussion and review. [And this email is my most recent presentation--I must now always be grateful to design-l for being the place where I developed most as a prolific/successful virtual writer.] It is always energetic whenever the symposium gets thick here. . .
. . .You express a desire for us to get to know each other better offlist, which I appreciate, but allow me to express the desire to see design-l continue as a vital virtual symposium that is truly "placeless." Please tell us more about "feeling placeless." . . .
I appreciate your comments about design-l.
One of the major reasons I started Design List should be apparent to everyone: Academics in architecture tend to greatly limit their informal communications, except in a formal context, s.a,. conferences, seminars, lecturers, studios, cliques, etc. This presents a major problem for learning.
Many of these decisions are based on the formal system of education which benefits individuals on the basis of certain values, s.a., publication, national and global recognition, prima donnas, etc. Tenure and promotion discourage any other approach. The system can stand in the way learning based on one's interests and abilities and talents. In academia there seems to be a preconceived notion of the kind of values attached to learning. In my opinion, learning is best done through research. But, I would agree with the approach of John Dewey, philosopher, who would make learning very pragmatic and experience-based.
Most of my work as an educator centered in the area of basic research of design principles. And, I always insisted on a total process approach---from nothing to something, and its evaluation. This approach is available in basic design, but it is very limited, or non-existent, in applied (architectural) design in the school setting. That is, only practice will provide an significant opportunity to examine the total process of applied design. But, in the basic design studies, it is possible to use product design as a means of exploring total design process. As long as the design themes are universal to the arts and architecture, great and relevant learning can occur in basic design studies in the school context.
With the advent of virtual space, and perhaps place-on-each-computer, the world that Ivan Illich has envisioned has come forward to all of us. (Illich was a professor at Penn State for several years before his recent death; and I had the opportunity to meet him there.) Now, we must consider the views of anyone communication with us on mailinglists---if we are to participate in relevant learning. Our interests and talents apply here is a global setting rather on the limited physical setting of the educational institution. And, with such great power to communicate, even our universities are being forced to open virtual communications from their institutions.
I will say this for Penn State. It has always provided the most ample opportunity for us to experiment with this medium; and it has supported the freedom of expression found on Design List. Thank you Penn State!
And, I have tried to support this freedom of expression as well, for it seems to be what we should be all about in this nation.