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Breaking (A)way: The Role of Productive Failures in a New Structural Design Pedagogy
Architecture Conference Proceedings and Presentations
  • Rob Whitehead, Iowa State University
Document Type
Conference Proceeding
101st ACSA National Meeting
Publication Date
(37.7749295, -122.41941550000001)
At its most basic level, structural design is about creating strategies for elegantly and efficiently combining a range of materials and shapes to graceful resist the different stresses created by “spanning and stacking” elements. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the potential richness of design that can emerge from this complex array of qualitative and quantitative choices, many structural design courses rely on the traditional engineering-­‐based teaching methods that favor abstract representations of physical behavior, calculation-­‐based analysis, and assessments of student performance based on the accuracy of those calculations. In these courses, because learning assessment is based on a student’s understanding of quantitative information, it follows that the course content itself must be filled primarily with mathematical analysis and sizing exercises. Instead of teaching a diversity of problem-­‐solving methods aimed at developing the ability to assess and improve a structure’s design and performance, right and wrong answers become the ultimate measure of understanding and “failures” are to be avoided.
Copyright Owner
Citation Information
Rob Whitehead. "Breaking (A)way: The Role of Productive Failures in a New Structural Design Pedagogy" San Francisco, CA(2013)
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