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Principles and Elements of Design Class
Spring 2001

I signed up for this class with UC Berkeley extension. After buying all sorts of designer furniture and accessories I really wanted to start creating my own designs. Designing and sketching happen to be the rare things that I love even though I suck badly at both. So, here I went, plugged my money down and made a commitment to attend 15 weekly sessions plus homework..ugh!

Our teacher is Charles Kahn, a professional interior designer and architect who did a lot of restaurant interiors in the Bay Area, including Noah's Bagels, Pasta Pomodoro and others. The class covers 2D work, 3D work, color, sketching. I can highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in interior architecture and design.

Building Architecture vs. Software Architecture

The most amazing realization that occurred to me during this class is the number of similarities between building architecture and software architecture. In both cases, there is no right answer, no single 'recipe' for success. In most cases, we can point out if something is wrong, but cannot really tell why something is right. Successful architecture in either case is achieved through careful balancing of a set of principles and objectives, that often times contradict each other. The role of the successful architect is to apply experience, creativity and logical reasoning to create a solution that optimizes the objectives. Each architect has his or her individual style and leaves a distinct fingerprint on his or her creations.
Once I read Christopher Alexander's book "A Pattern Language", I realized that the concept of Erich Gamma's book "Design Patterns" (the reference book on object-oriented design patterns) is actually based on Alexander's book. I always felt that my interest in software architecture and software engineering, combined with building architecture and design is a rare combination. Now I realize that it is actually a lot closer than commonly perceived. I still think that the area of software architecture is generally poorly understood and underappreciated. I hope that it will mature over time and great software architects will receive the same recognition (and compensation!) that great building architects do.


March 25 Field Day At Charles' House
Feb 8

Project #1: 2D Mini Studies

Feb 15 Project #2: Pattern
Feb 22 Project #3: The Space Chunk
March 1 Project #4: The Colored Space Chunk
March 8 Project #5: Shrine for an Ancestor
March 15 Project #6: Memorial Garden
March 22 Project #7-1: Minimal House
March 29 Project #7-2: Landscape
April 5 Project #7-3: Minimal House - Interiors
April 12 Project #7-4: Landscape II: Synthesis

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