Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Steve Cooke, M. Arch

Committee Member

Mark Weston, M. Arch

Committee Member

Stephen Szutenbach, M. Arch


fabrication, toy, education, making, digital


Frequently, in architecture and in other professions, a results-oriented approach to design truncates the creative process. Architecture is a man-made intervention, ultimately involving a fair bit of destruction in order to eventually arrive in a state of hopefully coherent grace in the lives of its users and the built or natural context (Clark 2000, 10). It is unacceptable to proceed hastily into such complex territory-without a degree of rigor and process-driven creativity commensurate with the gravity of creating large scale, reality-altering, life-affecting structures.

A process-driven inquiry requires many hours of experiment, revision, and meandering about that may initially have no relevance to any project at hand. It is time spent playing that produces creative designers, and it is creativity that we profess to provide for people. The designer that only picks up a pencil while on the clock, and walks past a stack of Legos without any urge at all to pick a few up and toy with them has lost his or her way. A re-introduction of play in the processes of designers, architects, and other creative professionals is vital to our continued place as contributors in the interest of a better world. This study seeks to illuminate the non-linear, to give play a respected spot as a design strategy. Play leads to better ideas, and toys lead to play.

This will be a chronicling of one person's journey, through a play - based design process, in order that we may better understand how play fits into an inquisitive and productive design methodology.