: t o y : is an online platform for sharing different experiences, models and perspectives of basic design education in schools of architecture and design in Izmir: http://toytasar.wordpress.com/
toy is an adjective used for the attitude and actions of inexperienced and naive people in Turkish language. The term means suspense, hesitation, perplexity, confusion, tereddüt, etc. These additional meanings of the term reflect the condition, relationship and psychology of the students and instructors in the studio, repeating each year.
toy also means a political arena for sharing thoughts and an important gathering place in early Turkish cultures. This meaning of the term reflects the goals of this online platform: sharing both similar and different approaches to basic design education in schools of architecture and design in Izmir.
Finally, toy is used in English language to describe tools for children to play with on their way to maturity. Likewise, toy becomes the sum of objects and tools that paves the way for design students and instructors to experiment with.
We believe that : t o y : will generate an online platform to enrich the critical attitudes in basic design education, without falling into the trap of “experienced” and “mature” attitudes of more conventional educational curricula. By being part of : t o y : we will have the opportunity to explore fresh and experimental perspectives for basic design education.
The first of a series of (informal) meetings between basic design instructors, architects and academics in İzmir took place in the form of a colloquium/forum at İzmir Center of Architecture (Izmir Mimarlık Merkezi) on 24 June 2014 at 6-9 pm.
During the forum, studio coordinators and instructors from Yaşar University and IzTech (Izmir Institute of Technology) presented their experiences to a large group of students, instructors, academics and architects. The colloquium was accompanied by an exhibition of the first year student works of Yaşar University’s Architecture Department. The aim of this event was to use the exhibition both as a venue and opportunity for a broader discussion on issues related to basic design education and on the possibility of collaboration between design schools in Izmir.
The keynote speech was given by Tuğyan Aytaç-Dural from Izmir University of Economics, who posed a series of important questions to pave the way for the discussion that followed. After this preliminary session, both Yasar University’s and IzTech’s basic design instructors introduced the method, tools and programs that they adopted in basic design studio in Fall/Spring 2014. Gediz University, İzmir University and Dokuz Eylül University did not present their work, although colleagues from both universities attended the meeting.
All these presentations informed the participants of various experiences of basic design education in architecture and design schools in İzmir. The participants had the opportunity to hear from different approaches to basic design education in the 3-hour intense open debate. Questions and comments from the audience elaborated the following points:
- This meeting should convene again with broader participation and a more definite agenda. The scope of the meetings should not be limited to architecture and interior architecture departments only, but include all design disciplines.
- The next meeting (meeting_one) can be convened at Izmir Architectural Center in September with IzTech (Department of Architecture) as host institution.
- Participants will post messages on : t o y : to be the basis of meeting_one.
- : t o y : (the blog established to increase the collaboration and interaction between first year educators and academics teaching at architecture and design schools in İzmir) will be used as an effective online platform before and after the meetings.
- Some of the issues that could be discussed at the meeting were suggested as the following:
- Is basic design education in need of total restructuring because of the recent developments in the realm of architectural design (such as “computational design”)? If not, are the basis of current basic design theories and programs still relevant and need to be adjusted rather than being subject to a total redefinition?
- What would be the main contributions of “computation” to basic design education, the design of the curricula, conventional pedagogical methods, and the assignments?
- Are we witnessing, as some participants argued, the shift in the vocabulary of perception and design that the Bauhaus has established? What would be the “updates” in terminology to respond to new paradigms in (architectural) design, and how will new concepts be integrated to the existing narrative of basic design education?
- To which degree the curricula or requirements of the second year education should determine the first year’s program? (“What should students learn – Composition/Structure/Material/Form” was the basic idea that determined Yaşar’s program for basic design in Spring 2014).