Pillow Forts: Teaching Design Through Play and Making
Authors: Malcolm Stielow, Megan Strickfaden
Abstract: A pillow fort is something that many people will remember from their childhood yet tucked between the cushions there is tremendous potential for teaching valued information about three-dimensional and spatial design. Pillow forts is a proposed design studio assignment where theories that include elements, principles and processes related to industrial design, architectural design and spatially-oriented design fields are taught to students engaged in post-secondary education. The aim of this paper is to report on the methods and implementation of a pillow fort assignment in a design foundation studio course. This paper also presents the ontoepistemological methodology behind this deceptively simple assignment. Students are taught fundamental theories around three-dimensional design and then given a simple design goal to make a pillow fort in their living environment using only the objects they have in their immediate environment. By creating an opportunity for students to work with key theories of three-dimensional design, working through the design process using the languages of play, and making in their living environment, students can develop a deep and more holistic approach to designing without even realizing that is what they set out to do.
Keywords: Design, Design Education, Design Theory, Making, Methodology, Ontoepistemology, Play, Reflexivity, Three, dimensional Design, Visual Analysis
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