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April 28, 2011

"Detroit Collaborative Design Center" (video review)

© Sou International Ltd
Source: Sou International Ltd

Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Sou International Ltd.

This film profiles the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and its working philosophy of "participatory design". The non-profit organization, based at the University of Detroit Mercy, works closely with its clients to create architecture and community projects most beneficial to everyone involved.

To illustrate the DCDC design process, the film covers their collaboration with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, for whom they were commissioned to create new offices. The inclusion of in-depth interviews with the clients and with Dan Pitera, the Design Center's Director of Design, provides a full picture of the approach.

The DCDC employs innovative methods to include and help their clients understand the design process. Scavenger hunts familiarize the clients with the design and architectural features of a building; Play-Doh models allow the clients to work out the location of rooms and how they want them to function within the spatial limits; and clients provide a project statement to assist designers. This active engagement leads to informed opinions and clear statements of what they need and want in a new building space. As a result, the clients feel more satisfied with the end design.

Throughout the film the potential difficulties of this collaborative method are raised. And, how the DCDC comes to resolve such problems as costs or clients inhibiting the design is documented. By addressing these complexities, Detroit Collaborative Design Center provides a persuasive model of how other programs can reach out and apply the principles of "participatory design" with their clients in the community.


This video is among the many available to borrow from Imageworks in the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library. Search for videos in Mirlyn or in our video database.

Posted by rmassare at April 28, 2011 10:00 AM

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