If We Could, How Would We Design Our Student Housing?

Abstract

Through the creative work of this thesis, I aim to imagine what student housing might look like if designed by actual students at the University of Texas at Austin. I pursue this through documented observation and virtual co-creation. Photographing off-campus, private housing that students live in, I seek out the adaptations, or workarounds, students make to resolve their needs within the spaces they inhabit. Processing these photographs into a collection, I point to the ways that students already “design” their housing. Such naturally occurring patterns can be organized into a language. Realizing this pattern language as a digital artefact, I make a tool for students to communicate their desired design decisions. With this tool, students can construct their own “deck” of design patterns that responds to their needs and reflects their values. Walking them through this process, we co-design their (hypothetical) housing.

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