Design Influences

Inspired by the past. Shaping the future.

A New Synthesis

In the service of industrial models of social and political engineering, art and technology have been co-opted to participate in a military-industrial complex that is a synthesis of our worst human characteristics: greed and hatred.

We are caught in a dialectic of opposing forces, in the politics of thesis and antithesis, right versus left. We need a new synthesis that transcends the old paradigms. Unity in diversity is the model for both the organism and the planet.

The new synthesis is integrating biology and physics. The future of design and architecture may be in the integration of the separate disciplines to learn how interconnected systems work and model the built environment to imitate the processes of living organisms. We are beginning to see these changes happening through the self-organizing principles of biological adaptation.

Imagine

  • Resources
  • Theory
  • Research
  • Strategy

The Power of Imagination

There is a terrible misconception in school that when we take art that we are teaching people to draw. What we are really doing is teaching people to see. That’s the important function. That’s why I think it is tragic when school funding gets cut, they cut out the art. To be creative, we must choose something that is really hard, that we might fail at, and have failed at; then we’re more likely to come up with something that is fresh and different.

Design

  • Ethics
  • Principles
  • Process
  • Systems

Living Systems

Design is evolving from physical artifacts to human experience: perception (senses), cognition (mind), emotion (heart), and action (body). The future of design and architecture may be in the integration of the separate disciplines to learn how interconnected systems work and model the built environment to imitate the processes of living organisms.

Build

  • People
  • Relationships
  • Community
  • Social Architecture

Social Architecture

Design goes beyond the pragmatic application of visual style to cultural artifacts. In other words, design is more than making things look pretty. It is a way of thinking and a process of working that enhances the ability of an individual or group of individuals to build relationships with the people in their community, locally and globally, and to realize their vision to meet needs, solve problems, and overcome challenges, not by fighting the existing reality, but by creating new models of reality to make the old ones obsolete.

About

Future Literacy

If we are oriented to the past, we may tend to make the same mistakes. If we are oriented to the present, we may become resigned to accept the way things are. If we are oriented to the future, the possibilities may create an indefinite sense of uncertainty, and possibly anxiety, in the face of constant change.

If we embrace all of reality, we may find the ability to balance memory, perception, and expectation to orient ourselves to growth.

Journal

Cultural Literacy

Finding our way in the world is wrapped up in issues of identity that are intimately connected to our position in the social, political, and economic hierarchies in which we are situated culturally, geographically, and intellectually. It is the water in which we live and the air we breathe. We benefit from the privileges we inhabit or we are marginalized by the unspoken sanctions of our social status.

Work

Ecological Literacy

The built environment is the physical infrastructure that contains and directs our social and economic relationships in patterns designed before we became aware of more effective and beneficial alternatives and opportunities, or the toxic effects of our legacy structures.

If the economic system that we have designed better serves its own purpose of perpetual economic growth, it may no longer be serving the human needs it was designed to serve. Does the machine serve us or do we serve the machine?

We have together built a machine into a form that reflects the fragmented and siloed intellectual disciplines that we model after educational institutions, corporate organizational structures, and political systems that divide our thinking and work into discrete categories and disciplines.

Diversity has become our greatest asset but our politics, our economics, and our built environment favour homogeneity and separation. The tendency of the system we have designed toward homogeneity is destroying the delicate balance of the earth’s diverse ecosystem.

Biology provides the model for a sustainable future. The symbiotic relationships of the various organisms that form our own bodies are a model of systems that have been proven to survive and thrive on earth.

Resources

Media Literacy

In the age of mass media, there was power in the role of the editors as the gatekeepers of information and the arbiters of salience, taste, and social propriety. The digital age has democratized access to the tools of production, but it has also centralized resources, wealth, and power in large corporate monopolies.

Bauhaus Archive, Berlin, Germany by Simone Hutsch
Bauhaus Archive, Berlin, Germany by Simone Hutsch
Bauhaus Archive, Berlin, Germany by Simone Hutsch

Research + Development

It is still a work in progress. I need to figure out how to add a blog to the site.

Vue + Nuxt + Markdown

Learning + Testing

Open Source

Deploy + Publish

UX Designers + UX Engineers

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design. https://stephenbau.com

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