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Prototyping Practice
Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture (2014)
  • Caryn Brause, University of Massachusetts Amherst

A prototype is defined as an early model, built to test a concept or process or to simulate a final product. In many fields, there is great uncertainty as to whether a new design will perform the way it is intended. For vehicles, products, and machines, the prototype is often the first full-size working version, and is produced in small batches to develop future iterations. Designers use prototypes to explore alternatives, assess user experience, approve aesthetic decisions, and confirm performance prior to starting production. However, a variety of industries from software user interface designs to emerging building technologies, have extended and diversified this definition. Prototypes now include items and experiences in a broad array of mediums, and are no longer limited to physical constructions, digital models, spaces, and interactions. In architectural practice, the seeming accuracy of virtual digital models makes them an increasingly desirable alternative to full-scale physical mockups. However, for beginning designers, the need to prototype at full scale is crucial. Understanding architectural space is intricately tied to scalar knowledge; the translation of design concepts from the virtual to the physical world is a decisive experiential step. Additionally, the practice of prototyping simulates the decision-making found in the realworld architectural design development process

Publication Date
April 5, 2014
Citation Information
Caryn Brause. "Prototyping Practice" Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture (2014)
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