Workshop on Wheels at Big Design in Dallas
Wherein I put thirty UXers on a bus and drive them all around downtown Dallas to learn about the corollaries between architecture in the built environment, and architecture in places made of information
People in the United States spend more than 40 hours each month inhabiting digital places; constantly checking and re-checking their statuses, account balances, their likes and unfollows, their friends and tinder matches. We do this more than 150 times a day. An increasing portion of everybody’s everyday takes place in places made of information.
What does it take to make good places for people?
One rich and relevant source for understanding what makes a good digital place is architecture in the built environment. Buildings can teach us about the power, successes and failures of design to transform the emptiness of space into the fullness of place.
Dallas, Texas is a “target-rich” urban environment for studying the successes and failures of architecture. On September 17, as part of the Big Design conference, I will be leading an excursion into the built environment in and around downtown Dallas, comparing and contrasting points of architectural and design interest along the way.
We’ll visit 11 buildings of my choosing, each one telling a different story of human desires and needs, and the ways designers, architects, planners and engineers collaborate in placemaking. We’ll encounter the works of Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, Santiago Calatrava, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Renzo Piano. We’ll ask a lot of dumb questions, and a few brilliant ones.
You’ll return to Big Design with an enhanced ability to read the design of physical and digital structures, and map those structures back to meaning and intention. In understanding what “good” means in civic and commercial architecture we will begin to understand what “good” might mean in places made of information.
Some of the places we’ll visit
- Dallas City Hall, by I.M. Pei
- Cathedral of Hope, by Philip Johnson
- Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, by Santiago Calatrava
- Kalita Humphreys Theatre, by Frank Lloyd Wright
- Nasher Sculpture Garden, by Renzo Piano