Upcoming Featured Courses

Spring 2020

Process(ing) Transformation

What happens to communities when schools close in their neighborhood? What could be the role of design in enabling civic participatory processes to collectively imagine new uses for these schools?

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Digital Crafting Basics

A hands-on studio introduction to the full sprectrum of analog and digital approaches to metal working. Digital drafting, modeling, and machining processes are taught seamlessly in tandem with classic metalsmithing techniques. 

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The Future of Making

Using Rhinoceros and 3D scanning tools, art and design students will generate complex forms for fabrication with CNC milling technologies. Students will learn to make and edit complex tool paths using advanced milling strategies

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Furniture Design: Chair Studio

This semester-long intensive furniture studio will critically engage the chair as an archetype. Chairs have long been a fascination of designers as they require a developed understanding of structure, material, and form. Importantly, chairs represent the cultural mores of the time in which they are produced and are inextricably linked to larger systems of power, technology, and economy.

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SAIC Design @ Homan Square

SAIC Design @ Homan Square combines design experience and professional practice with community activism. Operating out of SAIC’s facility at Homan Square’s Nichols Tower, the course engages students in a focused dialogue on social project implementation in Chicago while providing the tools and frameworks to realize those projects. 

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Minifacture is a course designed for students who are interested in exploring the possibilities of a career as an independent designer who produces and distributes their own work. Recent developments including digital fabrication and online platforms have enabled independent designers to viably enter the marketplace with their own product offerings. 

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CNC Integrated Fabrication

Digital fabrication is becoming more prevalent across disciplines and methods in which we create. This course explores techniques in which CNC (Computer Numerical Control) can be integrated into our practice as thinkers, artists, designers, and makers.

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Contemporary Issues in Design

Topics in Design Seminar offers students an opportunity to work with visiting and other faculty on contemporary topics in design through sustained academic engagement in a seminar context. The course is structured to provide unique opportunities for sustained inquiry into contemporary topics through both structured and open assignments; class discussion, presentations, and critiques.

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Light and Space

Lighting is a powerful tool for creating space. As a material in architectural design, light is an ephemeral medium that can be both shaped and manipulated. Light can impart a spirit of place to both buildings and installations.

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Critical Artifacts

An interdisciplinary elective for senior undergraduates or graduate students interested in exploring design concerns.  The Critical Artifacts seminar-studio allows for serious play, experimentation, and for the deliberate entanglement of theory and practice.

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Materials + Methods

Materials + Methods explores the nature of commonly used materials and their associated manufacturing processes as well as their traditional and cultural importance. With an awareness of cost, quality, and timing constraints, we investigate material properties and the various layers of manufacturing and assembly. 

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Fall 2019 / Spring 2020

Make/Move: Experiments in Urban Mobility

This two semester experimental research and making studio, takes Chicago as an exemplar and focuses on the future of urban mobility and what data-driven, technological systems it will require.

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Whatnot Studio: NYC

This is a structured collaboration between SAIC's Designed Objects program and local/international corporate entities, especially product manufacturers, material manufacturers, and retail enterprises. The two-semester long course engages select upper-level undergraduate and graduate students with the particular concerns and constraints of "real-world" projects. 

Learn more about Whatnot Studio: NYC