Today’s problems necessitate thoughtful, nuanced and multidisciplinary approaches. The complexity we face as designers cannot be addressed by an individual or by a single way of thought. Contemporary problem solving calls for both breadth and depth, demanding that firms and individuals work across disciplines to fully grapple with urban issues. Yet within the university, students have few chances to work together and fewer still to work with other departments. Entering the professional world, students possess technical and design competence but often lack essential interpersonal skills. This project addresses the disconnect between technical and personal skills and argues that each have equal importance and should be equally addressed in design education.
Using Aurora Avenue as an urban case study for contemporary collaboration, the project gives students the chance to think critically about how and why we collaborate, as well as providing them with opportunities to meaningfully engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, preparing them to enter professional practice as well-rounded and multi-talented graduates. The theoretical investigation of collaboration takes place in a winter quarter seminar, while the practical application of that investigation will run simultaneously in a ten-week design charette at the Henry Art Gallery’s Test Site.