Featured Courses in AIADO

Spring 2022
Uma Kamat with her Bar Table

Fundamentals of Furniture Making

This studio course provides extensive hands on technical training by safely learning to use hand tools, portable power tools, and stationary woodworking machinery. Free-hand sketching, technical drawings, and pre-production planning skills are also integral to the class. Live demonstrations augmented by videos will be provided.

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Spring 2021: Architecture and Interior Architecture
Ad Lib Environments Course Poster

Ad Lib Environments

This transdisciplinary Capstone studio will engage the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT). DRDT reimagines and diversifies the aesthetics of contemporary dance by uniting modern, classical, American, and African-American traditions in dance and storytelling. Their mission creates a feedback loop between performance, rehearsal and community engagement. Community members are invited to collaborate in the production of a performance and that collaboration choreographs relationships and rehearses worlds beyond the walls of the institution. Students design, prototype and mount their own installation and public exhibition piece, in conversation with DRDT, to advance a personal creative agenda.

This course is open to senior students (and graduate students) in all disciplines.  While this course will be offered as modified in-person, accommodations can be made for students participating exclusively online.

Faculty: Andrew Schachman
ARCH 4900.002

Fall 2020: Architecture and Interior Architecture

Design Communication

Comprehensive introduction to three-dimensional architectural and interior architectural representation and fabrication. Through individual and group projects, students learn hand-modeling and digital fabrication techniques, and become super-users of the School's shops and Advanced Output Center.

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Visionary Drawing

Visionary Drawing combines research and studio practice in the exploration of drawings and images that are uniquely compelling and have the power to advance visionary proposals in the realms of art, architecture, film, and spatial invention. 

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Design Action: North Lawndale

This interdisciplinary course will address and highlight North Lawndale's current initiatives and celebratory events. It will build upon the analysis of previous SAIC actions in North Lawndale, and propose, collaboratively with community organizations, a method for sustained development and trust.

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Eco Design

The class deploys biophonic, geophonic, anthrophonic sound maps, soundwalks, workshops, installations and lectures, in, along, above, on and under Chicago's Waterways to actively engage the community in water politics and policy.

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Designed Objects

Designed Objects 1 - Methods and Motivations

As the beginning course in the Designed Objects department, students will have an opportunity to explore different methods of working in order to begin establishing a practice that works best for them. Students will be building a strong foundation of skills and techniques needed to navigate an informed design process and successfully complete a design brief. 

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Designed Objects 2 - Form-Making

We will work with the processes by which product designers develop compelling objects that communicate ideas, values, functions and purpose. Projects are designed to study the language of form through an analysis of user interaction, the implications of material choice, finishes, and craftsmanship on the success of a product concept, and how these choices support and promote function, desirability and perceived value. 

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Designed Objects 3 - Research Strategies

The third course in the Des Ob studio sequence considers how designers are able to understand others and then design for them. We will investigate the things that people do, the objects that they use, how they feel and what they might need, want or desire in order to understand and then design meaningful objects. 

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Object Sketching

This course will provide the student with the skills to create design concept sketches (ideation/thinking) that will communicate with the viewer and visualize the design concept as a design object using sketch renderings to define and communicate the object's form and function.

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Interface Design Seminar

Through presentations and discussions, this studio-seminar rapidly introduces methods to understand objects, technology and their relationship with users. Projects in this class can also explore how an app can be used to enhance an object and not replace it. Weekly presentations will focus on various interface technologies or user interface (UI) development methods and examples that will be explored in the assignments.

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Materials and Methods

This course will introduce students to practical knowledge regarding the inherent properties of materials as well as the various tooling, machining, forming and manufacturing processes commonly associated with fashioning these materials into designed objects for limited and mass production. 

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Digital Crafting Basics

A hands-on studio introduction to the full spectrum 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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Fundamentals of Furniture Making

Through a series of hands-on technical exercises and material investigations, students gain an understanding of the basic principles and practices of furniture construction with a focus on wood. 

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CNC for Furniture

Digital output has revolutionized the way we conceive of making. This course explores ways of integrating the CNC (Computer Numeric Control) milling machine into art/design fabrication processes.

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Recent developments including digital fabrication and online platforms have enabled independent designers to viably enter the marketplace with their own product offerings. Unsettling the traditional relationship of designer and manufacturer, this seminar explores strategies by which the independent designer opts to engage and/or disrupt mass-market frameworks. 

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Extreme Furniture

Extreme Furniture is intended to stretch the definition of furniture: What it is, how it is used, how it is made, and how furniture interacts with the world. This class also asks why: Why is furniture made like it is? Why can't furniture be completely different from what already exists? 

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Prototyping for Furniture

This digital-analog studio affords modeling and prototyping for furniture and other objects at environmental scale. Students construct prototype objects for living while learning a diverse range of technical and process options for making at scale in materials including wood, metals, plastics, fabrics and foams.

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SAIC Design @ Homan Square

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

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Design for Nonhuman Kinds: Elephants

Design for Nonhuman Kinds is a course series that asks students to think “outside the human,” by decentering human perception and subjectivity in favor of animal thinking. This semester will challenge students to design and build cognitive tools that enrich the lives of elephants in captivity.

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