Michael K. Yirenkyi, '22, has a major in Art & Art History and a minor in geology. His interests are in architecture and design and he aspires to work in the industry. His curiosity to challenge the accepted design of our built environments led him to pursue this summer project to explore how space impacts our experiences, habits and behaviours, and our views in life. This is what architectural phenomenology is about. After completing this summer project, he continues to read literature on the topic and is looking to pursue these interests in a graduate program next fall.
Design is present around us. From our automobiles, to furniture and consumer electronics, design has drastically changed and improved our way of living. However, we are not aware of its influence because we have been programmed not to. The value of an arts education has declined over the years due to the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) which directed the focus of the education system to science, mathematics, and reading to measure the levels of students with standardized testing. This led to the neglect of subjects like social studies and arts, which are just as important for students in getting a well-rounded education. This project discusses the influence of design in our lives, and the importance of the arts in our society. I look at Industrial Design, a diverse field that includes the concepts, planning, and design of meaningful and sustainable products that help us live comfortably in our environment. I explore how these designs represent the best of human nature as it inspired innovative thinking like ergonomics and digital design, changed products from a targeted niche to the masses (also known as the democratization of design) and pushed for a sustainable design future. Conversely, I also examine examples of bad design that brought out the worst in humanity. This information is compiled from documentaries, literature and interviews through research, and emphasizes the importance of arts and design in our society now and for our future.