A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

SAIC Design @ Homan Square


AIADO 4101 001

Faculty: Eric Hotchkiss

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. Functioning as a pro bono 'design consultancy' where the residents, small businesses and community groups of North Lawndale act as 'clients', each job is treated as a discrete project involving research, knowledge-sharing and design action.

Covering a two-semester cycle (but offered as independent classes), the first semester focuses upon contextualizing the issues and problems and issues brought by the community. Students will perform a deep dive into the culture, politics, and geography of the community, revealing the larger structural issues that are often the root cause of specific problems. The deliverable for the first semester class is a solid design brief that provides a research deck and a set of design directions. This will be presented to, and critiqued by, the clients who are the main stakeholders, North Lawndale community leaders, as well as SAIC faculty. The second semester class will focus on proposing and implementing solutions that address the contextual research carried out in the first semester. Recognizing that making is a research process that reveals new problems, the reflexive activity of proposing, making, presenting and critiquing solutions generates new knowledge as well as physical outcomes. It is this collective new intelligence? that is the primary goal of the course.

Prerequisite: Sophomore-level or above.