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design+makeDISCUSSION // Jake Baker


Early conceptions of the design+make website revolved around self promotion and design validation. Hopes were to develop a medium for students and professionals to witness the fantastic work designed and realized (or sometimes just designed) by previous years, as well as a platform to spotlight ongoing design efforts. In essence, the goal was to create a digital museum to memorialize design+make and its accomplishments. Yet as time passed, it seemed that initial preconceptions were misguided and off target. A website envisioned as a digital museum would remain static, silent, and fail to embody the culture of design+make studio. Upon this realization, it became evident that the focus of this website should be shifted away from self promotion, and refocused on the ideas and learning processes maturing within the studio. The concept digital museum was retired, and the digital forum was brought to life.

Discourse: The total or codified language in a given field of intellectual enquiry

With lofty hopes of thrusting design+make studio into the ambiguous realm of architectural discourse, doubts arose on the ability of students to speak with authority. Over the years, architectural discourse has evolved with advancements in technology and information distribution. Historically, knowledge was transferred secretly through guilds formed by craftsmen and artisans. This early effort to establish communication between members of different artistic professions could be considered the birth of architectural discourse. It allowed each guild to control secrets of the trade, develop a professional network, thus institutionalizing architecture as a profession. Eventually, the printing press forced the evolution of discourse by accommodating mass publication. Information began to spread beyond the guilds, as experts published the latest knowledge (motivated by publishing profits and authoritative power). This lead to an era shaped by manifestos, treaties, and monographs. With the birth of the world wide web, architectural discourse went through another radical transformation. Authoritative power was placed in the hands of any individual willing to post their thoughts on the internet. A side effect being the proliferation of sub-standard publications as editors and publication companies became an unnecessary hurdle.

It became evident that incorporating ourselves into the current conditions of architectural discourse must be done considerately. Can students contribute with authority to ongoing debates in the architectural profession? Or are we one more substandard publication using the internet as a soapbox to shout our opinions to available ears? These questions forced internal reflection on the purpose of the design+make blog. Rather than managing a blog, we believe in facilitating a forum. A place were we, as students, share our ideas and viewpoint on the developing profession. However, it should also be a place where discussion and debate are encouraged rather than stifled. This is the only way for discourse to develop and advance.


With the publishing of this post, readers will now have the ability to comment on any of the writings submitted on this forum. We hope to begin an educational dialog with our readers who agree, or disagree, with the claims, questions, and observations we make. We look forward to future discussion and hope to contribute positively to ever evolving architectural discourse.

Written by Jake Baker

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