Architectural Design Thinking: Human-centred design

An architectural drawing with a rule and pencil.Design Thinking is about human-centred design. Empathy, ideation and experimentation are at the heart of the user-focused concept. It can be applied to management and services as well as design disciplines. The built environment consists of diverse professions – architects, engineers, drafters and construction workers. What if they all understood inclusion and human-centred design in the same way?

Architectural drafters work with architects and engineers by preparing drawings. It is a technical role and requires knowledge about the whole architectural process. While there is some progress on understanding and designing for inclusion by architects and engineers, this is not necessarily the case for drafters. What if you took a group of junior architectural drafting students and taught them the concept of Design Thinking? And what if they were hearing impaired?

An experimental study in Turkey did just that. The study was a mix of architectural knowledge and teaching methods specific to students with hearing impairments and language difficulties. So there is an element of UDL as well. In conclusion, the author says that Design Thinking has the potential as a teaching strategy in other educational settings. The conclusions cover both successes and pitfalls.The report is lengthy and detailed. 

The title of the article is, Design Thinking to Familiarize Hearing-Impaired Architectural Drafting Students with Human-Centered Design Concept

From the Abstract

Developing a human-centered design understanding in built environment-related professions and enabling them to encompass diversity are crucial for the improvement of more inclusive environments. There is a growing effort to implement inclusive and universal design issues to the educational programs of design and related disciplines for about two decades. Contrary to the developments in the pedagogy of “core” design disciplines, human-centered design perspective seems not to be widespread enough in the education of so-called “peripheral” occupations of design, like architectural drafting.

This study showed that in relation to hearing-impaired students’ underlined need for getting familiarized with the process of architectural design and focusing on human-centered design approach, present application of Design Thinking strategy worked effectively to provide basic information about architectural design, design process, and related tasks and user needs as well, as part of design process for hearing impaired architectural drafting students with a certain level of hearing loss and language ability.

Published in the International Journal of Architecture and Planning, Vol 8, No1, pp:62-87