School of Architecture College of Design

The Urban Nomad and Design Foundations by Isabella Noet

The Urban Nomad and Design Foundations


Last fall semester, the Design Foundations in Architecture workshop for new Bachelor of Design in Architecture (BDA) students was taught for the first time.

Marketed as a bridge between pre-architecture and the BDA curriculum, the Design Foundations in Architecture workshop seeks to account for the gap in knowledge that many had previously seen in the BDA curriculum. Instructor Courtney Miller Bellairs is the driving force behind this new course. Up until foundations, students were thrown into the realm of workshops not knowing what to expect or what tools from the pre-architecture repertoire would be most useful in their upcoming coursework. Students of varying skill levels and experience take the same workshops, which, as I have found, can be daunting for first timers. After attending the final review for foundations however, the workshop seems to succeed in its capacity as a knowledge bridge.



The final project in foundations was the "Urban Nomad." Students were instructed to utilize the urban edge to create a "place to stay for one person." Each student took on existing design solutions to answer questions about domestic issues such as sitting, sleeping, or washing and then reworked them into a 5 x 2.5 meter space. Some students took a dystopian approach to the assignment while others took it on with a minimalist mind-set. Still others sought a way to create a transient living unit. Models were then created of these structures and the ideas were represented graphically.




Based on the final reviews, each of the students seemed to excel in creating their own urban nomad structure. They were comprehensive and thoughtful, while still maintaining their individual vision. When asked what skills they thought the class had aided them with, many students spoke to their confidence in modeling and analytical thinking. Others pointed to their newfound ability to more easily express their ideas verbally. In the end, the students seem prepared and ready to take on the workshops that await them in this and coming semesters with the BDA program.

For more images of the final projects and workshop, click here!


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