Page 1


no 1 | fall 2014 bilingual (Farsi and English) studentrun architecture and design quarterly

English Version Editor-in-Chief: Arshia Eghbali Editorial Staff: Setareh Salari | Kimia Motamedi | Nima Dabirian | Mohammad Mohammadkhani Page Layout: Soroush Kalatian Contributors to This Issue: Sajjad Mansournia| Payvand Taheri | Kimia Motamedi | Yasaman Hedayat | Ali Ghazi | Nima Dabirian | Amirhossein Adelfar | Amirhossein Vafa Address: no 2, College of Fine Arts bldg 3, Qods st, Enghelab ave, Tehran, Iran naam.aa.ut@gmail.com

Special thanks to: Kourosh Asadollahpour, Mr. Seyedkarimi, Scott Olav Allen, presidents and personnel of the kindergartens, Ali Sanaeekia and Hamidreza Kouchakinejad (members of the Architecture Assembly), Amirhossein Adelfar (secretary-general of the Architecture Assembly)


1 3

Not Today, But Tomorrow…

The Role of Creativity in Design Thinking Workshop for Newcomers

15 32

Creativity is Everywhere

25

Kid Designer

Creativity: A Hot Pursuit

You Know You Could Have Passed This Test, Which Is Nice…

36

9


1 Editor-in-Chief's Note

Not Today, But Tomorrow… A while ago, I came across an old copy of a 1958 French book by Michel Ragon named “L’architecture Moderne” (Modern Architecture). Apart from the bombastic name – which is in fact baptized with sacred glory and plain pretentiousness in the manner of a holy writ – my eyes were caught by a quotation on the first page from La Bruyère, the 17th century French poet. It virtually translates to: “We, who are this modern today, will grow ancient over the turn of centuries.” The thing that really moved me was the unintended doubled irony of this very sentence in this very book; as the writer had chosen it ironically to re-

fer to himself and modern architecture, as well as to certify the accuracy of La Bruyère’s words and now I – as a reader – could see the author, modern architecture and all its forefathers having become the subject of the same sentence! Now, that the groundwork of the first issue of NAAM has come to an end, I was reminded of this sentence and its everlasting accuracy, with a bitter-sweet touch; and I felt that I should repeat it here. NAAM stands exactly on the same ground. Here at NAAM, we aim to be as fresh as possible, to be pioneers, and to go beyond the realms of our knowledge and perspective: we are


2 Editor-in-Chief's Note a magazine run totally by students and in fact so is the commission of a student. Nevertheless being a pioneer, in today’s ceaseless world of constant transformation which is more like a black-market of information, is by no means an easy target! A lot of effort is needed in order for us to expect our growing ancient to take – not centuries – but at least some years! We are trying to do our best and so we tried to find a blank space for NAAM to fill in – a space which is neither too small nor too big. A space where we can make a difference. NAAM tries to consider different aspects of architecture, design, craftsmanship, culture, identity, human and society as parts of a whole; especially in today’s world that the boundaries between all of these are no longer visible, and aims to face this integrity with a pragmatic, in-the-field, participatory approach and to produce a material worthy of today and even more hopefully: useful for tomorrow. NAAM hopes to be an architecture magazine, a product of today, not for today but for tomorrow. So it may grow ancient a bit slower…


3

The Role of Creativity in Design Thinking Sajjad Mansournia

A successful theory is able to help us understand what a designer does. Meanwhile, each designer may have their own understanding. Furthermore, theory allows us to compare different models of design and evaluate how they are related to human and environ-

ment; to understand how a design is done and how it connects with its surroundings.

to their design?

and then to clarify its role in both design and What can lead to novel design thinking. and valuable designs? Creative thinking makes the designer In general, by shaping Creative thinking able to consider difa design theory, funda- offers a fresh and original setting for the ferent ways to come mental questions are up with a novel idea raised that deserve an design process to develop in. Thus it is cru- by seeking help from answer: cial to study the mean- their vision instead of usual everyday thinkWhat conducts the de- ing of creativity and ing. signers on their road its comprising parts


4 What is creativity? Defining creativity, academics and psychologists take up numerous different attitudes. Some definitions regard personal characteristics of an individual as the basis of their surveys while others prefer to set their studies on the grounds of creative process or creative product. R. W. Weisberg (1993) believes that: “Creativity forms the minute an individual takes on an original solution when confronted with a problem. In other words, creativity is the ability to solve problems that one has not already learnt the solution to.” [1] Elaine Dundon (2002) defines creativity as discovering a new connection and claims

that on this basis, everyone is capable of creativity as well as communicating their ideas with others and overcoming different challenges. As a result, creativity is the sum of parameters consisting of personal characteristics, process and product that are interacting in a social context. For instance, a designer with creative characteristics such as a strong vision and a flexible mind, through a specific process, is capable of offering a novel and valuable design which can gain public recognition and praise as well.

Comprising Parts and Elements of Creativity Creativity comprises of different parts and elements. Teresa M. Amabile (1993) counts “subject-related skills”, “creativity-related skills” and “motivation” as the three fundamental elements. [2] Subject-related skills are: knowledge and awareness on the subject, facts, principles, theories and concealed notions. These skills serve as the keystone of talent, experiment and education in a specified subject. However, despite the significance of this element, if someone possesses the highest level of these skills but lacks creativity-related

ones, is certainly not capable of doing a creative work. By outof-the-box thinking, creativity-related skills put subject-related skills into a whole new use. Creativity-related skills are associated with these intellectual values: 1- Avoiding clichés and setting aside previous methods of thinking and practice and to obtain new approaches. 2- Postponing judgment and evaluation of ideas in order to prevent abandoning those that do not seem to be as interesting and constructive. 3- Understanding complexity when exposed to complex problems and being capable of getting into the chal-


5 Motivation is a funda- vation, the process mental element and would be more inter4- The ability to view perhaps the most imesting and enjoyable things in a different portant one. An indifor the person. [4] way that has not been vidual cannot perform viewed before. Design Thinking an act of creativity 5- Vastness of thought without inner or outer Edward De Bono and the ability to make motivation. However, (2000) considers surveys have shown connections between design to be rooted that inner motivation different ideas. in a thinking method is more fruitful in which he describes as Amabile (1983) berealizing creativity [3]; “design thinking”. Our lieves that some meaning that if there conventional method personalities are more exist an inner motiof thinking relies on capable of creative thinking. Some main characteristics assocreativitysubjectciated with creativity are: high self-ordirelated related nance, perseverance when faced with skills skills failure, independence, tolerance of ambiguity, tendency to take a risk, self-confidence, etc. Although it is possible to foster these charmotivation acteristics in people if they do not possess them naturally. lenge.

knowledge patterns – for example logic, analysis and judgment – while design thinking is based on creative patterns, and so it is a main part of the productive creativity. The difference between design thinking and conventional thinking is very important in creative process as well. Conventional thinking is in fact “judgmental thinking” and relies on analysis, judgment and logic. In such a thinking method the truth is clear; although in design thinking we seek out for values. [5] Different thinking methods associated with design process, could be classified into these five divisions:


6 - Directed Thinking: This symbolic inner activity is aimed towards a specified target and is often used to solve problems that are “well-defined”.

“accepted knowledge”. think. [4] [6] One of the handy methods that could - Graphic Thinking: It be very useful in deis not only a means sign, is the method of of communicating ideas and concepts of “forced association” which was introduced design, but it is also a - Undirected Thinking: method to think about by Charles S. Whiting. In this method human questions and tasks of In this method, a new concept is achieved by mind is activated with design. [7] relating two ideas or no prior background things that seemingly and does not aim for have no connection. any specific target. Creative Thinking in This concept provides The specificity of this Design Process the context for finding thinking method is its Referring to fundaideas and developing “free” and “floating” mental elements of creative thinking. nature. creativity; possessing - Creative Thinkdesign knowledge and This method relies on this idea that every ing: This method is skill, creative thinking goal-oriented and skills and strong inner thought or thing is in consequently, creative motivation are crucial fact a combination of other things. The solutions are practiced to design process. easiest way to apply to reach a proper anThere are numerous this method is to use a swer. methods developed to words table. In the left - Critical Thinking: This expand creative think- column lay the conmethod takes on a log- ing skills. These meth- cepts and parameters ical approach and tries ods lay the foundation regarding the subject to analyze the data for evoking one’s of design and on the and take advantage of ability to imagine and

top row, the other thoughts and imaginations. The meeting point of each row and column is a new combination and concept which is often useful. The following is an exemplary application of this method to a design: Suppose that we try to make a forced association between chair and ground. We are not required to only limit the ideas to these two words but they are here to inspire us as a designer. Please also bear in mind that our ideas do not need to be practical at this stage as the purpose is to free up the mind. Here are some sample ideas that may come to mind: 1- A chair that its dis-


7 tance with the ground is modifiable; meaning that its height is adjustable for people with different stature. 2- A chair that conceals in the ground and only comes up when needed. For minimum spatial disturbance. 3- A chair that does not stand on the ground but is attached to the wall or to the table.

References

Tehran.

[1] Weisberg, R.W, (1993) Creative temple University, W.H. Freeman & Company New York.

[6] (Originally in Farsi) Mahmoudi, A. S, (2004) Thinking in Design: Introducing Interactive Thinking Pattern in Architecture Education, Honarhaye Ziba Journal, no 20, University of Tehran.

[2] Amabile, T. M, (1983) Personality Processes and Individual Differences, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol45, No 2. [3] Amabile, T. M, (1990) Within You Without You, Journal of the Social Psychology of Creativity and Beyond, Runco Marck A.Albert Roberts, Theories of Creativity Sage Publications, London.

4- A chair that is supported by the air and not the ground. As it is not in touch with the [4] (Originally in Farsi) Hosseini, A. S, (2014) ground, this chair will not make a noise while The Nature of Creativity and the Ways to Foster moved. it, Qods Pub Tehran.

[5] (Originally in Farsi) Faizi, M, (2005) Design Thinking in Architectural Design Process, Baghe-Nazar Journal, no 4

[7] (Originally in Farsi) Khairollahi, M, (2013) Imaginative Sketches in Architectural Design Process, Hoviat-e-Shahr Journal, no 14 Tehran.


9 Report

Workshop for Newcomers Reported by Nima Dabirian Photos by Amirhossein Adelfar & Mina Tahmasebi

Monday, September 15th, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran We wanted the freshmen students to experience the design of something they were familiar with, so it could remark their first they at architecture

school. Therefore, we held a meeting at The Architecture Assembly and came up with an idea, instead of what was usually done in orientation day, we decided to organize a workshop, so that they get the chance to experience different aspects

of design process for the very first time. As a final agreement, design and fabrication of a lampshade, was selected as the subject

of The Workshop for Newcomers and it was only at the opening of workshop that the subject was announced so the participants only


10 had 5 hours to design and fabricate their lampshade. Initially, we asked the participants to team up in groups of 2-5. The Materials that they were allowed to use were craft paper, woolen yarn, paper cups and fine wire. At the end, lampshades were supposed to be installed and used as actual lampshades with turned on lights.

tion toward itself, was an interesting modular work. At first sight, it looked like a pineapple! The

modules were origami Group 1: Hosna, pieces that matched Hanieh, Hasti together and formed a The first lampshade, half of a sphere mold which drew our atten- and at the top of their

lampshade, there was a paper cup as for the place to install the lamp.

Group2: Pardis, Negar, Faraneh, Sarah They had made a beautiful lampshade, which could easily be used in

a child bedroom. The group had thoughtfully used all the permitted materials. The cups were cut vertically and shaped a wavy form with fine wires around the lamp. They decorated the lampshade with miniature hanging paper boats. Group 3: Ehsan, Mahdi, Alireza, Amirsalar A fun and active group, who, presented two separate works at the end. The first one wasn’t successful due to lack of proper usage of material. However, their second design was an


11 elegant and modern lampshade, which was made by tucking two boxes into each other, and gave a delicate lighting to its surroundings. Group 4: Golbarg, Parastoo, Sana A simple yet appealing lampshade, similar to an incomplete pyramid with sewed edges. It held two lamps and was very practical.

Group 6: Koosha, Arman A group with lots of fascinating ideas. However, they spent maybe too much time on those ideas that they didn’t create what they were supposed to in their given time. Perhaps if they started working with their materials earlier, they could have made something proper.

Group 5: Yasamin, Pardis, Saba An exciting lampshade looking like an inverted flower, which had one lamp in each corner. This work was also made from origami elements though in different scales.

Group 7: Saba, Farzaneh, Zohreh, Mahzad A beautiful work with an interesting idea that used a cup for holding the lamp and has applied paper stripes round above it. The light of the lamp be-


12 low passing through the stripes, created an eye-catching game of light and shadow. In the End Eventually, lampshades were tested and it was a great pleasure for the participants to see the result of their work and all of us were greatly satisfied with the results. It was obvious that the groups, who started working with materials earlier instead of spending too much time thinking about their ideas, had reached better results. Also the groups who gave attention to the limited materials and not to all the probable possibilities, ended up

with better results. These sorts of limitations in every design process are familiar to us and we certainly know these could limit our ideas. Nevertheless, this is not an obstacle for our creativity in design. Limitations could mean emphasizing our consideration on the only options we have and come up with better ideas.


13

Workshop for Newcomers Organizing Team: Amirhossein Adelfar Nima Dabirian Arshia Eghbali Soroush Kalatian Hamidreza Kouchakinejad Mohammad Mohammadkhani Ali Sanaeekia Amirhossein Vafa


14

group 3

group 1

group 7

group 2 group 6

group 5 group 4


15

A talk with 120 HOURS 120 HOURS is the name of an architecture competition which was created by three students at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design back in 2010 and is successfully running since then. It is a competition for students with a different format that requires participants to design, present and send in their work in only 120 hours after the announcement of the assignment. At the beginning, it was only a competition for Norwegian students but today, only over the course of five years, it has turned into a prestigious international competition with renowned juries. So we found this a plea for a talk with directing members of 120 HOURS to seek out their views on creativity and its role in architecture competitions and some of the related experiences they have gone through.

Interview

Creativity is Everywhere


16 What you are about to read, is the complete interview that we did with the members of the board of directors of 120 HOURS via email and with the kind assistance of Scott Allen, Head of Communications of 120 HOURS. Because of our long-distance correspondence, the questions are multipart and thus the answers are lengthier. The questions were divided among the board members and so the subjects are different with each of the members; at the beginning of each part is the name of the member who is answering. Finally, NAAM wishes to sincerely thank 120 HOURS for their time and effort. Editor-in-Chief

Fredrik Mortensen, Sponsorship Manager - To begin with, please tell us a bit about the idea of 120 HOURS, your approach and the beginning of the story and the role of creativity in it. The idea of 120 HOURS is all about presenting your idea in a way that makes people want to be apart of it. I`m sure there are a million ways of developing your idea, from beginning to the actual product. But I believe that when you have a million ways of doing it, you also have a million great opportunities. It´s all about believing in your idea.


17 Today the idea of 120HOURS has become a competition for students where they have the opportunity to create something that can be seen by thousands of people on the Internet. Their work will be curated and displayed, it will be viewed by a highly qualified and international jury, and they will have the opportunity to compete with students all over the world. We have seen so much promising work over the years that we are certain that this model also can be used for architectural competition in professional use. But in order to understand how 120 HOURS has become what it is today, we must go back to the beginning. From the very start, our idea was to get people to be part of our concept, we knew that we couldn’t do everything by ourselves. To make this happen we had to transfer the confidence that we had in the idea, to the people who we wanted to involve. This meant students, jury, professors and teachers, and the professional industry. We had to create a concept that made it clear how poorly we think competitions work today, and that shows how we could make it better. After getting these groups involved it was time

to spread the idea even further. This is a job that we are still working on, but it is going well. By developing the 120 Talks concept, by creating assignments that can be universally understood, by expanding to other creative arts, we always try to challenge ourselves to go beyond our existing followers. As of 120 ,2014 HOURS has become the world’s biggest architecture competition, created forand by students, with 2959 participants from 83 nations. Architectural competitions affect people outside the architectural industry. It`s time to let them know. - So with all these ideas behind 120HOURS, it seems that 120HOURS means to be a -let me call it- "creatively curated" competition. So, how important is the role of creativity in organizing and curating a competition in order to get more creative results? We have always strived to be as creative as possible in our approach. However this year it is a tough balancing act, since we are letting a new group of students organize the competition by


18 themselves. We want to encourage the organizers to come up with new ideas for the competition, but it is also very important that they remember to also give the participants freedom to express themselves without too many restrictions or unnecessary guidelines. Being creative in organization and curating is not synonymous with doing more, but perhaps more about knowing when to stop. For instance, when we write the assignment text in cooperation with the jury and the rest of the 120HOURS-team, we use a lot of time debating what to include, or not to include. What we have learned over the course of the last four years is that creativity is born in the white space, between the lines. Peder Brand and Hans Martin Halleraker, Founding Directors - What is your opinion on creativity and competitions and their co-relation? What is the 120 HOURS way to see it? Competitions hold a nearly mythical position in architecture, they represent a possibility to re imagine and challenge established paradigms. A

Adolf Loos’s design for Chicago Tribune


19 chance for the underdogs and outsiders to prove themselves amongst the big shots, competitions promise fortune and fame for those who dare to move into unexplored territory. At least that’s what we in 120Hours think competitions should be, an arena for undisclosed newness. In 1922, the Chicago Tribune issued an international design competition for their new headquarters, challenging architects across the globe to design "The most beautiful and distinctive office building in the world”. The response was enormous, with over 263 entries from twentythree countries. With radical modernists such as Adolf Loos, Walter Gropius, Bruno Taut and Ellie Saarinen participating, the entries ended up shaping what we now know as the stripped down modernist office tower. The competition became a channel for promoting radical modern ideas, likely far beyond the client’s expectations. Most notably, Adolf Loos’s entry, despite not winning, stood as a remarkable reimagining of the tower as quite literally a giant column. A common denominator in all the memorable proposals is that they all challenge the ideas of the office tower at the time, proving the immense creative potential of a well-directed competition.

First Winning Entry, 120 HOURS 2014

A more recent example of this is the Çanakkale Antenna Tower Competition to design a -100meter Observation and Broadcast Tower for the historic city of Çanakkale in western Turkey. The shortlist included renowned firms such as Sou Fujimoto and Snøhetta, but was won by the small Dutch firm: Powerhouse Company in collaboration with IND. Instead of relying on a conventional tower with a base, mid and top section, the winning entry proposes a continuous ribbon where the antenna rises up from the landscape rather than being placed on top of it. The notion that competitions should fuel and


20 encourage new thought, even beyond what the brief calls for, is the backbone of 120Hours. As with everything else, architecture tends to fall into static and comfortable states, reproducing the same stuff in different places. Competitions must exist as a constant provocation to the known, always pushing the creativity of architects to its limits.

diagram, and breaking out of the preconceived solution. Sometimes the most creative solution could be to use what is already available, rather than crazy originality, it’s all about resetting

- Frankly, what is the distinction between "creativity" and "just doing something which has never been done before"? Or more fundamentally, is there such distinction? There is a clear distinction between the truly creative and what could be called novel newness. We certainly see an immense amount of novelty every day in online magazines, one project after another claiming its 15 minutes of fame with novel moves such as a new facade pattern or a shiny new material. While the projects most basic diagram, the projects core, remains the same as the previous projects in that genre. Creativity is not necessarily just making up the absurdly new but consciously and critically thinking about how to approach an abstract problem. By reimagining the conventional

Jurying Entries, 120 HOURS 2014


21 oneself from the established norms. An through the delivered material. Architect's job is to materialize abstract ideas; Magnus Asker Pettersen, Founding Director creativity is the skill that enables that. - At 120HOURS, when you come up with the assignment, do you have any idea of what would the entries be like? And how close or far they end up to be? Every year, we have a perception of how the “perfect project” of our assignment will look like, and we are equally surprised by the scope and the quality of projects every year. Our perception of the “perfect project” is never correct, and we love it. The contestants impress us more and more every year and it is always great fun to look

- Developing an idea is also very important, and then comes the matter of how to present that idea. What is your view?

Second Winning Entry, 120 HOURS 2014

Third Winning Entry, 120 HOURS 2014

What is competition, and how does it affect creativity? Competing is not only something you do in a competition. You do it every day. Who has the best idea for an assignment in school and who comes up with the best concept for a project at work? These questions we face every day as architects and students of architecture.


22 That is a good thing! Competing with yourself and your fellow students and co-workers keeps you from repeating yourself. You can develop your ideas and evolve as an architect. One important thing to remember when you compete is to evaluate yourself and your work. Put some distance between yourself and your work. If possible get a second opinion, because you should never underestimate the value of a second opinion. If someone else understands your idea, always ask; “how would you present it?” The ideas and the concepts are indisputable the most important part of your work when doing competitions, but a lot of people forget to think about how to present their work. The best students and architects know how to put their energy into the presentation as well. Being able to communicate your proposal to the jury is key to winning a competition. The winners of 120 HOURS 2013 and 2014 are both great examples of how a clean presentation can communicate a project in a very persuasive manner. You don’t need a lot of text or a lot of diagrams and illustrations as long as what you

have is precise and to the point. If you look at architectural practices like BIG, JDS, REX they are extremely precise when it comes to how they present their work and ideas. They make it almost impossible to misinterpret the core of the concept. Turning a complex idea into an easily understandable concept is difficult, and simple presentation is a highly creative presentation. - I understood that you believe in creativity in every stage (concept, development, presentation, etc) so what kind of a project is the most “well-received” in a competition: A "better" idea? A "better developed" idea? Or a "better presented" idea? First of all, I don’t think that it is either one of them; it is all of the combined. If you have a good idea, you also (hopefully) know how to present it in the best way possible, so that there is absolutely no chance that the jury will misinterpret your concept. My experience, and we see this every year in 120 HOURS, is that if a good idea is presented poorly, either the contestant did not know how good their proposal actually was, or even worse,


23 your idea is bad, or that it isn’t worth sharing. One of the great things about the world that we live in today is that it allows us all to share ideas with each other, primarily through social media. Taking the time to letting other people know what you are creating will not only help to showcase yourself, it could also help to inspire others to further develop their own ideas. Maybe your idea is the final piece that was missing in their own project, and so they are able to grow as architects because of it. Or maybe someone approaches you with an interesting project or job offer because you took the time to tell him or her Scott Allan, Head of Communications what you are creating. Our main point is that you must not let your - So what else remains? ideas be forgotten after the work is “done”. It So what do you do after the competition is over? only takes a few extra minutes to tell someone You may have been lucky enough to win, and so about it. you receive a lot of “fame” and attention. But let’s «Sharing is caring» face it, the most likely scenario is that you didn’t. Does this mean that your idea is finished and - It seems that for providing the chance of sharing the ideas after the competition, we done? – We hope not, that would be a shame. At 120 HOURS we encourage all our participants need to keep the excitement - the atmosphere to share their ideas and final projects with each going on, so how could a competition keep the other, after the competition. Even though your heat going on after the results are announced? project may not have won, it doesn’t mean that And does 120HOURS try to do so? And how? they knew, but did not care about giving it a clear presentation. If it is the latter, a good jury will catch up on this at once, and you are out of the game (or the idea has to be mind-blowingly great!). I think that the proposals that show great dedication to the task given and the concept developed from the brief are the most interesting, and they are always appreciated by the jury. 120 HOURS love dedication, because dedicated people are inspiring people.


24 Yes it is very important to inspire the participants to share their projects after the competition is over. First and foremost it is all about making the projects «sharable». This means doing the hard work of collecting, adapting and publishing every project on your website. For instance in a gallery like on http://120hours.no/entries/2014/ Our goal for next year is to make every project sharable on Facebook through the click of a button. Secondly we wanted to showcase the winners in a forum where people really would appreciate all the hard work that has gone into making the projects. We teamed up with an Oslo art and design gallery called DogA http://www.doga. no/-120hours2014- and created an exhibition of the winning projects. This gallery exhibition lasted a whole month after the competition was over. Lastly it is important to use traditional media to spread news about the competition and the projects. After the competition ended we used a lot of time on writing stories for local and

international media. We collected images from the top projects and wrote articles where we showcased the winners and what we had achieved as a competition. You can see some of the results on: http://120hours.no/news/ But there are many other ways of keeping the fire going as well: - You could try to get jury members to write or talk about the quality of the entries, and how they experienced the competition, -either online or at a live event. - Engage your Facebook community in discussions about the winners or about how your competition can improve. What would they like to see next year? What would be their dream assignment? Who should be next year’s jury leader? etc. - Hold mini competitions on social media like Facebook or Instagram. Who has the best tip for next year’s assignment? Which entry is the “audiences” favorite? Logo competition etc. I can’t say that we at 120 HOURS have found the final answer to this challenge yet. But it is something that is always at the top of our minds and something that we are continuously working on.


25

Kimia Motamedi Payvand Taheri Yasaman Hedayat

Creativity, as a means of life and death of a society, undoubtedly deserves paying attention*. So this survey aims to take a step into considering creativity with regards to design. There are numerous definitions given for creativity, which are fundamentally different, but the point, which seems to

Case Study

Kid Designer

ent obstacles during the passing of years and later life, is weakened or in some cases totally dies out. These In fact, most of us per- obstacles include ceive that looking back social comportments into childhood, there and limitations, dos is a fair chance that we and don’ts, the conmight come across the stant requirement to examples of a creative be realistic, sense of mind more frequently; fear and lack of self-esthe creativity which through facing differ-

be common in the majority of them, is being novel whilst being proper.

teem, etc. But honestly, why children are known to be more creative than grown-ups? Do the society and the educational system play a role in reducing this creativity? Now, accepting the assumption that children are more creative, is it so that their final answer to a


26 Here you can see pie-charts of the classification of the ideas.

design request is more creative? Trying to answer these questions, we found our way to kindergartens. We came up with a very simple design task and asked them to draw in order for us to seek our answer in them. The following is a brief report of the survey we carried out. The Task Our goal was to observe the creativity of children when faced with a design request. The target group was of 5- 6 years of age; meaning that they were considered capable of illustrating and making images but were also not yet under the influence

of the educational system. We started off with two kindergartens. Trying to reduce the impact of social and economic matters and concentrating solely on the age group, we picked the two kindergartens (let us call them Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2) one from district 1 and the other from district 17 of Tehran. In our approach, the larger part of the 1-2 hour time that was given to us for every session at each kindergarten, was spent on creating a friendly bond between

played to them as they were asked to name the features inside it and guess the probable association in between these features. By directing the talks slowly towards our the children and ourdesired subject, the selves and winning children believed that their trust. This was they, themselves, have due to our belief that in an environment free come up with the idea of the task (design of anxiety and fear of the unknown, there is request) and thus, it a better opportunity to amplified their desire to find a solution. They express what is going closed their eyes while on in one’s mind. To begin with, the making of a paper boat was shown to the children so that each of them made one for themselves. Image (1) is the same picture as given Afterwards a to the children. The task was to help the baby turtle to go to her mom at the other picture was dis- side of the river.


27 they were thinking about their design, at the same time, they were given a copy of the picture and a box of color pencils, giving them the chance to start their drawings as soon as they opened their eyes.

prised a large number of the answers as well.

of flying, which was considered by several children.

The Answers An overall of 22 illustrations was collected as our initial data. Considering the subjects of the paintings, they could be classified in following divisions: 1- Boat: As a common means of crossing a river, it comprised a large number of the answers.

3- Birds and Generally 2- Bridge: As another “Flight”: Crossing the common means of river with the help of crossing a river, it com- birds or other means

4- Out-of-the-Box Ideas: Some original ideas proposed by the

children. 5- Unknown: Illustrations that did not respond to the task. Boat: Via proposing wood as the material in designing a boat, we can see children’s experiential understanding of density and the need to consider lightweight materials. Later, considering the natural power of the wind, sails were added to the boat and regarding the stream of the water, rows were added to navigate the boat, which shows the child’s fair understanding of a boat and its function and even of how to overcome unwanted natural forces. Or as an instance, after making paper boats


28 process, children firstly and then requesting used the trunk of the the design, the question of material and its vulnerability was brought up which was eventually resolved by one of the children via proposing to use glue stick to make the boat waterproof! A substance, which a child knows, that can coat the paper while not affecting its flexibility. So it is suitable for preventing the paper boat from sinking. This actually shows the child’s approach towards materials and their capacities concerning the requirements of the project, regardless of the usual application of them in a manner that perhaps no adult would consider. trees in the picture to cross the river. Later Bridge: In their design on, they flattened the

curved surface of the trunk by proposing

to carve it. In some drawings they even illustrated cutting tools,

such as knife and axe. Hence, in this stage, we could see children’s understanding of materials and their application as well as ways to obtain them; in other words, we could see their concern for the fabrication process, which is indeed noticeable. On the next stage, children added railings to the bridge, which shows their concern for safety matters and their necessity. Birds and Generally “Flight”: In some primary, or so called, “childish” designs, the baby turtle borrows the wings of a bird and flies to its mom. With a closer look, we can point out the similarities of this proposal with wing designs that


29 were the first confrontations of human being with its eternal desire to fly. In other pictures under this classification, the baby turtle is carried out, by a bird with the help of a rope or a basket. Developing this idea may lead to a simple aircraft; a common transportation used throughout the world every day. Out-of-the-Box Ideas The followings, are some of the different solutions given by the children that deserve attention: - The primary answer given was connecting the two sides of the river with a rope. In the process of developing this idea, at first

and for convenience a swing was hanged from the rope then for security reasons some bars were attached. Next step was to develop some kind of moving ability for the designed instrument. Two ideas were suggested: First was taking advantage of wind power, which showed the child’s experiential understanding of natural forces and using previous data (adding sails to the boat) to resolve new problems. The next

suggestion was using the height difference in a way that in the origin, the rope places higher than the other end and the swing naturally moves downwards. This indicated the child’s experimental and natural understanding of gravitational potential difference and the way it can be put into use. Developing this idea may lead to the design of a simple chairlift that could be a solution for crossing the river without causing any damage. In this category, the usage of natural forces in the lack of advanced technologies has led to number of design ideas, which were similar to traditional solutions regarding

their harmonization with nature. - One of the approaches to the problem was seemingly naive: “well, we go under the ground!” A simple tunnel, beneath the river, that lessens any kind of impact on the natural environment. Due to the children’s lack of knowledge, many of the obstacles never occurred to them. In other words, they were loose of physics laws’ boundaries and were able to


30 imagine their solution, without consideration of matters such as soil resistance.

other idea that used a launching force to solve the problem. The initial idea was inspired from the game - A tool suggested by “Angry Birds” and had kids for crossing the the potential to be deriver was a spring, in veloped to a machine a way that the turtle such as a catapult. The would be thrown to landing point never the other side of the got considered by this river. The developgroup of children eiment of the idea led to ther, as it wasn’t when setting a plate placed using a spring. over the spring for the baby turtle to sit on. - “she can ride on a The path drawn by the star!” kids for this throw was an arc which indicated Using the sun and stars as means of their understanding transportation, shows of how a spring actuhow the boundaries of ally operates. Surely, they never considered logic and physics laws where the turtle would do not limit children, and how their mind actually land. is freed from all the - Designing an inrestrictions and limitations that occupy strument similar to a slingshot was anadults’ minds. In the

world they live in, unlike ours, everything is possible. - A truly amazing idea was a human chain. “A lot of people standing and holding hands, crossing the turtle hand to hand”. In this idea people are brought into the design with a humanitarian touch, which surprisingly, makes it an extraordinary solution. A solution that may only stem from the kindness of a child’s heart, in a way that they would see themselves involved in helping the turtles. The Last Words Without a doubt, the human life would have never continued

without creativity. This creativity has been the origin of all the discoveries and explorations made, since the time humans felt the crucial need of keeping themselves safe; the same human, who discovered fire and found comfort in its company. Therefore, not only creativity has always been there in man’s mind, but, our existence depends on one another. Sometimes though, under the influence of many factors this creativity can be declined, such as the rights and wrongs, which are defined in the educational system and society, the belief that there is only one correct answer, fear, lack of


31 confidence and all the different limitations. Based on this, it could be said, that perhaps a child, who has not spent as much time in the society and is not yet involved in this dos and don’ts , has a much bolder creativity. Losing this creativity is in fact the same as losing the flexibility of mind, which weakens the ability of thinking out of the box and breaking the habits and norms. The other factor that impacts the creativity of mind is the fluidity of thought. This fluidity is the ability to present a lot of ideas in a short amount of time, and can be repressed by factors such as shame or fear of being mocked. Flexibility and

fluidity are in fact two qualities of a child’s mind. On the other hand, ideas that seem original and new are a combination of experiences and previous data by new means. In this case two problems are suggested for discussion: first, is the amount of the experience and data gained by the mind and second, is the mind’s flexibility to combine the data. These two matters, are some of the advantages, that child’s mind has over an adult’s. Far from the boundaries of the adult’s mind, a child can ride baby turtles on the sun to get them to their mother. But, this child is inexperi-

enced and has minor information reserved comparing to an adult. In other words, finding an answer to a design request, crave for familiarity with design records and backgrounds, which a child has no authority over. It is obvious that to give creative answers to a design -which is itself a problem to solve- none of these abilities-consisting of flexibility and fluidity of mind, experience and knowledge of design records-is solely sufficient and it’s essential to use them all at once. Nevertheless, neither an adult nor a child, have the capacity of this kind. Therefore, the design done by a child is not nec-

essarily more creative than an adult’s, and the reason why, as said earlier, is that in the process of a creative design experience and knowledge both play an important roles; Significant elements that a child’s mind, as free as it might be, is not benefited by them.


32 Article

Creativity: A Hot Pursuit Creativity has always been a controversial topic in the world of art, especially in architecture. Recognizing and practicing creativity has been a challenge to almost every architecture student. It causes a situation in which having a new idea simply becomes adequate or even ideal to us. Trying to reach creative ideas,

students sometimes fail, and as a result, they project the blame on themselves, the instructor or the circumstances. “What is creativity?” And “what is innovative design?” are two very important and tricky questions that are difficult to answer in the first place; almost as bizarre as trying to describe the taste of cabbage to an alien!

Amirhossein Vafa

Is creativity an innate quality? Or is it like our eye-color that we have no will in acquiring it? Or is it acquirable? If it is, how could it be discovered and improved? These are fundamental questions which demand study, experience and research to answer to. Nonetheless, what has preoccupied me lately, is pursuing the trace of creativity in works

of architecture and finding out if there is any chance to obtain higher levels of it. It is obvious that works of art have gone through an evolutionary course throughout the history but does this fact apply to today’s architecture as well? The pursuit began when my friends and I chose New Wembley Stadium - designed by Norman Foster


33 – as a case study for a school project back in the spring of 2014. This building, based on the several awards it has won, is a praiseworthily innovative design particularly in integrating architecture and high technological structure. The more we researched, the

J.S. Dorton Arena

more the clever aspects of the design were exposed to us. The architect’s most distinguished idea was to place a gigantic traced steel arch in order to suspend the roof and its load over the large span. As a matter of fact, in addition to solving the problem of structure, the architect designed

a landmark in the London skyline which shines both day and night. But here comes a vital question: how did this innovative idea arise in the designer’s mind? To answer this question we consulted the website of foster+partners. Soon we found Wembley stadium in the projects category.

New Wembley Stadium

With a glimpse at the images of the project file, some early sketches of Mr. Foster attracted our attention. It seemed that the architect had already answered our question: the Crown of the Queen of the UK! By focusing on the sketches, another question was raised; does it make sense


34 to get the inspiration for designing such a massive arch from the shape of a crown? And even if we accept the architectural concept of the design, how could the structural aspect be accepted? Since it is unlikely

to design such an important and massive project just based on intuition. The case study was almost done but the questions in our minds remained unanswered. By the time, reviewing the history of cable

structures, I came across a design from 1950s. Excited to having found a clue, I tried to study more about it. J.S. Dorton Arena (a.k.a Raleigh Arena) is one of the earliest projects which was constructed by

suspended arch and cable system. At first glance there seemed to be no similarity between these two stadiums, but an analytical review revealed Dorton Arena’s footprint in the design of


35 Wembley Stadium. Even though our questions were not thoroughly answered yet, we found out that such projects have been designed and constructed in the past. The designs which seem to be pursuing each other throughout the history, while each is distinct and worth to be called innovative. However, it needs to be stated that this article does not accuse the designers for copying or stealing ideas; or on the other hand, it does not encourage anyone to copy. But the point here is that a wellarmed arsenal of

visual information could boost creativity. Maybe it is a good time to take a look at our own situation. It is our turn to design. During the design process, it does not mean that we have to pick a case and try to change it - which is not acceptable at all - but the knowledge we each bring from our stored memories allows us to have a vast storehouse to choose from while designing. The range of the knowledge that could be recorded in our memory and added to our savings is much vaster than merely viewing architecture.

Our thinking attitude could be influenced by many things: from some curious physical phenomenon or a state-of-the-art material, to noticing how a tiling artisan works or even a beam of sunlight entering into a space. So if reading the works of other writers, regardless of their date of creation, is a useful method for improving writing skill; certainly one of the methods that could foster creativity in architecture, among other methods, is observing, experiencing, researching and analyzing other

works in the field of architecture or even other artistic or scientific fields. So, as an architecture student, we need to go beyond grabbing a pen and drawing, to allocate some time to discover more and more.


36 Happy Ending

YOU KNOW YOU COULD HAVE PA

THIS TEST, WHICH IS

SSED

NICE

Ali Ghazi Camera shows a soda vending machine. A kid enters, puts a coin in the machine and presses the button for Coca Cola. He takes the soda and puts it on the ground. Then he puts another coin in, buys another Coca Cola and puts it next to the last one. He puts in another coin again but this time, he stands on the two cans so he can reach the Pepsi button. He presses the button, takes the Pepsi and leaves the Cocas on the ground and then leaves the screen.

Grab your pen and hold it like a dagger! What is creativity? Can you learn it? Can you use it regularly? Is it hereditary? What books do you suggest on the topic? Who is the best theoretician in the subject and what are his books? Do blonde people have more life satisfaction? Does creativity only belong to inventions or art? Or does it impact our daily tasks? Is it a mysterious and unexplainable subject? How is an art work created? Is the real Paul McCartney dead? Does everyone on the planet possess creativity?


37 What is the opinion of great architects about creativity? What are the basics and forms of creativity? Name them and explain one by your choice. (Answering only two of the preceding questions is adequate to pass the exam) Scribble your feelings on the paper…

“An acrobat is no puppet, He devotes his life to activities in which, in perpetual danger of death, he performs extraordinary movement of infinite difficulty, with disciplined exactitude and precision.....free to break his neck and his bones and be crushed. Nobody asked him to do this. Nobody owes him any thanks. He lives in an extraordinary world, of the acrobat. Result: most certainly! He does things which others cannot.”*

Creativity is what makes you regard this scribble a work of art.

* Acrobat, a poem by Le Corbusier


38


39

contact NAAM naam.aa.ut@gmail.com


IMAGE CREDITS

[PAGES 9-14] Courtesy of Under-graduate Architecture Assembly of University of Tehran / Photos by Amirhossein Adelfar & Mina Tahmasebi. [PAGES 15 ,16 ,17 ,19 ,20 ,21] Photos and 120 logo Courtesy of 120 HOURS. Given to NAAM by 120 HOURS with permission to publish them. [PAGE 18] Chicago_Tribune_Column_Plano_1. via wikiarquitectura.com [PAGES 25-29] Photos and documents courtesy of the authors / Photo on p. 25 by Sajjad Mansournia (2014). [PAGE 33] Dorton Arena via arcaro.org Wembley Stadium via fosterandpartners.com [PAGE 34] Drawings Courtesy of foster+partners via fosterandpartners.com [PAGE 36-38] Plan of Jewish Museum Berlin via cultureandcommunication.org


NAAM #1 [Creativity & Design]  

NAAM is a student-run quarterly of Architecture and Design based in Tehran, Iran. In this issue, NAAM explores th theme of CREATIVITY & DESI...

Advertisement