News
New Design Minor (D-Minor) Launches in Fall 2016

The Department of Architecture will launch a new Minor in Design (D-Minor) in Fall 2016. "Undergraduates across MIT are excited about design. They’re participating in increasing numbers in classes and research projects that engage challenging, multi-disciplinary design problems. We are delighted to now offer our very creative and talented undergrads a more structured opportunity to pursue their particular design interests," says Terry Knight, Professor of Design and Computation and Design Minor Advisor.

The D-Minor will provide a hub for undergraduate students to learn core principles of design in dynamic studio settings, develop a sensibility for visual and physical form, and help contribute to new ways of designing that are applicable across a spectrum of areas. The D-Minor introduces design from concept to completion through contextual critical thinking, experimental representation, physical production techniques, and processes of critique, iteration, and reflection.

This minor is a way for students who see the value of design as a means of approaching problems they normally encounter within their own major to receive a rigorous conceptual foundation along with a strong design skill set. The objective is to prepare students to pursue diverse career paths or further education in multiple areas of design from product design to 3-D design to visual communication, and to enable them to take advantage of emerging opportunities in industry and academia.

"The new design minor is rooted in studio-based design teaching and diverse faculty expertise in technological to socio-cultural aspects of design. We’re looking forward to meeting our first group of 'D-Minors' in the fall, as our new line-up of subjects gets underway," says Knight.

In Fall 2016, Marcelo Coelho (MAS'12, Marcelo Coelho Studio) and Jessica Rosenkrantz (BS Architecture & Biology '07) will co-teach 4.031 Design Studio: Objects and Interaction. Topics include observation and critique of objects; interaction design and user experience; economies of scale vs. economics of means; and the role of technology in design. The course provides a foundation in prototyping skills such as carpentry, casting, digital fabrication, electronics, coding, and interaction.

Please visit the D-Minor webpage for full information on the D-Minor curriculum and descriptions of the new D-Minor foundation subjects to be offered next academic year. To apply for the D-Minor, download and complete the minor application form from the MIT Registrar’s website and make an appointment to meet with Terry Knight, the Design Minor advisor.

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In Spring 2016, the department offered three prototypes of the D-Minor foundation subjects:

Skylar Tibbits (Research Scientist and Director of the Self-Assembly Lab) and Caitlin Mueller  (Assistant Professor of Building Technology) co-taught an introductory design course, 'Exploring Design: Thinking Through Making', with invited lecturer Jessica Rosenkrantz. Rosenkrantz ‘05 was a dual major in architecture and biology at MIT before founding Nervous System with Jesse Louis-Rosenberg.

Lisa Smith (BSAD ’04 and Creative Director of Areaware) and Marcelo Coelho (MAS ’12 , Marcelo Coelho Studio), co-taught a course entitled 'Design Objects'. The course is an introduction to the "products, furniture, and other everyday accoutrements that shape our modern daily experience — and the role technology plays in design,” explain Coelho and Smith.

Ben Fry (MAS ’04, Principal of Fathom) taught 'Information Design: Exploration, Navigation and Understanding’ which introduces students to data analysis, visual design and presentation, and interaction techniques.


 

Images:
Slide 1: left, Kinematics Dress, Jessica Rosenkrantz. Photo by Steve Marsel; middle, Yun Fu; right, George Varnavides.
Slide 2: left, Zain Karsan; middle, Yasmine Rubinovitz; right, Akshita Sivakumar.Slide 3: Morph Bangle Silver, Jessica Rosenkrantz.Slide 4: Petals, detail, Jessica Rosenkrantz.