Learning from Bauhaus: The Value of the Master / Apprentice Model – Instruction through Practice – in Design Education
Troy Abel, Larry Fenske, Ben Hannam, Somiah Muslimani
Beginning in 1919, the Bauhaus school continued to influence design education and practice well past its closing in 1933. In recent years, industrial design education has often struggled to merely keep up with the profession rather than lead it. This paper presents an argument for teaching design theory and practice in a learning environment similar to the workshop environment developed in the Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus curriculum included a workshop experience with two masters, an artist and a craftsman instructing through theory and practice. In this environment, masters and student apprentices worked side-by-side developing designs. This relationship was fruitful for both masters and students – Marcel Breuer developed three of his iconic tubular steel chair designs during his tenure as head of the Bauhaus’s cabinet making and furniture design studio from 1924 to 1928. 1.
There is value in teaching design in a studio environment in which students learn through practice collaborating with experienced design faculty on client projects in a professional setting. This environment provides opportunities for education that go beyond both the classroom and typical professional internship experience.
FourDesign is a faculty led, student-staffed design agency which got its start in 2001. An inter-departmental effort demonstrated the value to students, faculty and the university (name of institution left out of abstract until after selection). This paper includes a description and examples of the award-winning results of this on-going effort.
1. http://www.studio-international.co.uk/reports/bauhaus.asp, 3/30/2011