Institute for Building Design and Technology

Chair of Design Methodology

Professor Renzo Vallebuona

Designing and constructing is an elusive process. This can be seen in the almost unlimited number and complexity of the fields of expertise and knowledge involved, as well as in the blending of rational and intuitive decision-making processes. In the end, of course, there can be no one solution, but at most one of several possible ones. This makes it difficult to find and follow one of the paths to a conclusive design and its implementation in material and construction at the beginning. Under these conditions it is hardly possible to summarize the necessary knowledge and skills in a simply structured teaching concept that can even be taught and worked through in a linear fashion. Contradictions, jumps and inconsistencies cannot be ruled out. Since we cannot resolve these, we must learn to deal with them. On the other hand, every teaching needs a structure and a didactic setup that enables the students to get started at all. So both are necessary, the clearly comprehensible structure and the open discourse. Based on this, several strands of action overlap in our teaching. Again and again, different levels of observation are taken up. For example, an issue is viewed primarily from the operational-use-related or the constructive-technical perspective. In the course of the design process, the different points of view repeatedly emerge, mix and overlap with different weightings. Right from the start, a holistic view of architecture is cultivated; the relevant questions are asked. The initially low level of difficulty is only gradually increased. The selected objects are developed for a location with real boundary conditions. Concrete functional requirements must be fulfilled and placed in a spatial context. The question of whether this is done in an appropriate manner, i.e. whether it meets economic criteria in the broadest sense, is an essential part of the architectural examination. This approach also requires the conscious use of the necessary resources and the ecological conditions associated with them. The tasks always include the constructive, at least exemplary, elaboration of the chosen concepts. Whatever abstract thoughts are developed in the theory of the lecture or the correction talk, they enter the practical world of experience in the exercise. Thinking and acting belong inseparably together in the design process; they are mutually dependent. In the exercise, things should be thought through and brought to a conclusion. Depth is to be explored; the goal is not to design in a pleasing way. In the exercise the designer learns to transfer his thoughts into the material world. If we succeed in a comprehensible process to unite the intellectual and emotional aspects, we have reached our goal.