CIVAE 2021 3rd Interdisciplinary and Virtual Conference on Arts in Education, Madrid, Spain, 14 - 15 June 2021, pp.106-111
The sudden change of design education into a distance education model due to the global pandemic in recent years has posed additional challenges for first-year architecture students, who have no prior design education foundation. These developments have forced instructors to tailor their tools and curricula to the changing situation. Considering the case, we propose a novel approach that will encourage students to develop architectural design ideas based on LEGO components and formal interventions that are familiar to the students. We conducted a student workshop as a design experiment using LEGO bricks in CAD, eliminating the constraints of physical space and mockup materials. In the threeday online workshop attended by thirteen first-year architecture, interior architecture, and industrial design students, the participants explored modular architectural thinking and production with LEGO bricks in a CAD environment. Participants were asked to create a user persona as their user, then design a living pod for that persona for an activity of their choice. The designers developed their architectural designs with online critiques given via CAD files and video conference presentations. They presented their final products as architectural boards and LEGO building instructions of their design. The model proposed in this workshop develops the fundamentals of some real-life architectural practice skills: the use of pre-engineered design modules such as real construction elements, or familiarizing novice students with the vocabulary of CAD tools through a construction toy they are very familiar with. This approach not only provides a valuable addition to exercises that can be used in distance architectural design education of first-year students, but also proposes an alternative tool for collaborative design in higher design education and practice. Feedback from the design workshop also provides guidelines for developing a specialized modular brick-based software tool for architectural design education.