CRITICAL DESIGN – A NEW PARADIGM FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING UNIVERSAL DESIGN
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Torkildsby, Anne Britt
Institution: NTNU; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Section: Design Education Practice
The critical design method, originally developed as a useful tool for designers, architects, engineers, etc., to help open the (design) brief when designing future institutional environments – thus throw light upon the design process from a critical perspective and bring forward perspectives that would otherwise tend to be overlooked – is now gradually being adapted and applied in the field of universal design. Bringing this way of thinking design into higher education would encourage teachers and students to gain enhanced knowledge in this field and so better equip the students with the skills to create inclusive design and make sure future buildings, products and environments are inherently accessible to greatest extent possible by everyone (Mace 1998). In order to test and further develop this way of thinking about universal design into educational purposes, two mini-workshops have been conducted so far. One at a research institute for Rehabilitation engineering and design in Sweden, and another one at a master of Occupational therapy program in a Norwegian university. The purpose of this paper is to show the process of adapting the critical design method from use in institutional environments, such as hospitals and prisons, towards implementation in various universal design contexts, and furthermore, what the preliminary results illustrates. Finally, the paper will discuss if critical design is a good way to challenge and ultimately improve the field of universal design – and if so, how to best proceed so as to achieve the best teaching and learning outcome.