NYU Gallatin Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Back to Courses

Good Design: Scale

Semester and Year FA 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1750
Section 001
Instructor Louise Harpman
Days Tue,Thu
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement HUM


Good Design takes as its premise that visual literacy is a vital yet under-examined area of academic discourse. Although we engage the designed environment every day, non-specialists have few ways to make sense of the myriad decisions that are used in creating objects, habitations, and landscapes. Through a combination of reading, drawing, writing, and model-making, this course asks students to examine the complex intersections between analyzing existing designs and creating new work. One central question is whether design principles that operate at a small scale, say the scale of a hand-held object, are also appropriate at a larger scale, say the scale of human habitation. The course uses scale as a lens through which to view the designed environment, as readings and projects consider the design of something you can hold (such as a tool), the design of something that can hold the body (such as clothing or furniture), and something that can be inhabited (such as a dwelling). Discussions of the readings, analytic writing, and student-designed work will structure the majority of course meetings. Readings may include: Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. and the original Museum of Modern Art curatorial Good Design texts from the 1950s; Paola Antonelli, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design ; Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy ; Jay Greene, Design is How It Works ; Richard Dyer, White ; Joseph Rykwert, On Adam's House in Paradise and others.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

NYU Gallatin Footer

New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370