Educational Experience of Architectural Elements Design With a holistic or “whole-driven component” approach (Design Task: Window Design at 1st-year courses)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of architecture and urban planning, shahid beheshti university


In architectural training, focusing solely on the design of architectural elements, regardless of the overall position of their deployment, is imperfect, and on the other hand, facing students with the design of components while considering the whole, is complex and has many interfering factors. The present research, with the question of how to interpose between these two demands, chooses a small, enabling environment for the first year students as the target group, in which students will design a number of architectural elements. This opinion was shared with the students as part of the "whole-driven component" through a rehearsal exercise - the design of the window of the facade of the faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University- which will be presented as field studies in the form of an action research method in the present paper. Moreover, this study expresses the differentiating and shared stances of this approach with reference to experts’ opinions and studying the outlooks of the curriculum of the world's leading universities in the undergraduate level focusing on the first year. Findings of the research shows that the "whole-driven component" view starts from component design to whole scope and returns to small scope. Therefore, it has a way such as cycle, which is named component-whole-component cycle. The cycle is open-ended and risible. The benefit of the experience of this viewpoint is that it gradually turns students into holistic thinkers. It also causes novices to realize the values ​​of the context in order to comprehend the general placement of the elements and ultimately decide on them. They find that it is not necessary to make the most of the interventions in the context to make the architect’s work seen, but the virtue of his design is to speak succinctly and to the point on the basis of the diagnosis of needs, and to reflect on the role of components with regards to the whole. The degree of success in this view varies in different contexts and for different students, and it is necessary to apply the practice of different training styles tailored to the needs of different students through the use of the skills and experience of the instructors. In design with a full-blown, holistic perspective, the student faces a real context and architectural design is not shared with the student in a merely theoretical manner. Creativity in design is crucial in this regard wherein it is required in the form of simple but stimulating and sensible answers. Finally, it should be stated that the present paper agrees with the viewpoints of discourse change in relation to speaking of the whole for architectural novices, because if confined to present architectural elements that are limited in shape to the students of architecture, there would be little improvement in students' perception of the whole in design And the architectural design would always stay within the bounds of designing mere architectural components such as walls, floors and ceilings.


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