Assignment 5: WRITING UP
I am going to use methods I have discovered through my design studies to talk about how I would tackle my Sustainable Restoration brief differently. The Sustainable Restoration brief asks us to refurbish a house that sits on a site in Seafield Road. We were to create a two bed-roomed home with a studio space within the property as the client was a book restorer and she wished to work from home. The client who was called Emma was also interested in skiing, scuba diving, tie chi and yoga. This meant that Emma needed space to do these things. She wanted also to have spaces externally and internally to entertain guest’s The property also had to be sustainable, using technologies, which meant she would produce most of her own electricity, heat and grey water supplies.
When I was first given this project I started off with the methods that we learnt in the first semester. The first major method was mind mapping, as soon as I received the project I started off by putting down all the key points I had picked out from the brief and then expanded them through mind mapping. This gave me things to find out, information about points and issues to explore. These brainstorming mind maps become the first point of call for my development of my project. From this the issue I feel I have to explore is sustainability, as I was not sure what this meant and how it would effect my project. So I then went on to use cross-search to find information not just on sustainability but also used it to look at designers of sustainable interiors and architecture.
After gathering this information I was able to relate it back to my original issues picked up in my mind maps and then develop the mind maps with any new issues I have came across while conducting my research. This will help me expand my ideas and keep them realistic.
We were fortunate enough have a real client and we were able to conduct a group interview with Emma, this gave the class the chance to find out about Emma’s tastes. In this interview situation we asked all the obvious questions like hobbies, styles she was interested in, favourite colour, whether she preferred carpets or wooden flooring. This interview session was very important to finding out the client’s character and self-appearance.
We have been even luckier to have been given a book binding course with Emma, so with the project progressing, the information we had not found important at the time of the group interview later seemed essential in the progress of the design. We were able to have informal discussions during these teaching lessons with Emma. These informal chats about our design with Emma have proven a great help with progressing our design in Emma’s favour.
Also during our project we had the chance to go to the Solar city house in Dundee. We had the opportunity to interview one of their representatives who was able to tell us a lot of information about renewable energy. If I was to do it again I would have maybe wished to have been further ahead with my research into renewable energy as I was not 100% sure what she was telling me. And this information would have been a greater help closer to the end of the project when I was looking into these products and needed advise on the products abilities.
If I were to do this project again I would maybe do more research into the history of the building and its surrounding area and try and tie it into the design. I feel looking back at the original plans would maybe have helped improving the design as it had been extensively changed over the years.
One of the experiments we conducted in the second semester was being given photographs from someone’s home or childhood to work out things about them. I think this would have been a useful incite into Emma’s world and we would have been able to gain a lot from this. We did however gain access to her book restorations studio at the University library, where we had an incite to her working world which was a great help for designing her own studio in the restoration project. We were also able to pick up little bits of her personality from the items on her desk.
Conducting this interview for this project has given us a great insight into what our client wants from us as designer. I would say that some of us were uncomfortable about asking the question to begin with but once we got used to Emma and the situations become informal we would turn up to book binding with lists of questions. I think being able to contact the client Emma was a very successful way of getting the class used to dealing with clients.
I understand that interviews are not always the best way to get answers. I did feel sometimes Emma might have been overwhelmed with 5 people all asking her the same questions and her maybe not remembering what she has said to someone else might cause conflicting answers which might cause confusion between the students. But on the other hand it gave us a great insight into working with clients. I also feel that the class never shared a lot of the information gathered from Emma or the information gathered from the site as the better the information you had collected the better the grade are likely to achieve.
If I did the brief again I think I would maybe want to observe Emma’s life for a day to find out how she use’s her exciting home and what her daily routine is. I would also have liked to find out much the general public knows about sustainability and the effect we are having on the earth.I feel I want to keep developing my research as I think its only going to make me a more confident designer in whatever discipline I end up designing in