The molectual and spatial models
In 1965 I was one of a group of final year students at the Birmingham School of Architecture who embarked upon a remarkable final thesis project - the design of an Electrical Engineering Faculty for the University of Birmingham using a new and exciting design methodology that we had developed. It was early in the days of Design Methods and a large part of our project involved an extensive research into the field. In the process we evolved our own Method - far in advance, in some ways, of what was being developed elsewhere by academics and industrial designers on big government grants. We set ourselves the task of designing a complex building entirely by mathematical computations, seeking to eliminate arbitrary decisions and value judgements from the process of design. We were confronting directly the traditional myth of the designer as an inspired genius awaiting patiently a vision from which to craft his design. It was an exciting time. It led me on, eventually to work with Christopher Alexander and the late Barry Poyner in London, to a Research Fellowship in Design Methods at Portsmouth Polytechnic (where I convened the first Design Methods in Architecture Conference in 1967), and eventually to a position on the Faculty at the College of Environmental Design in Berkeley, California. This work projected me into a life of academicism which has been the consuming passion of my life. The work was the beginning of a series of public l;ectures - at the RIBA in London, and at Universities in Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham. It led to my involvement with the nascent Design Research Society, and eventually to being there at the inception of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) in the USA. This was the beginning....
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