An Evidence-Based Design approach for function, usability, emotion, and pleasure in studio redesign

Peter Scupelli, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University.
Bruce Hanington, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University



Studio-based design education is changing to include multidisciplinary design teams,
geographically distributed teams, information technology, and new work styles. In this
paper, we present the research findings from a graduate studio redesign using an
Evidence-Based Design approach with measures and outcomes for function, pleasure,
and the emotional needs of users. Located in a design school at a research university in
the United States, we conducted four types of pre- and post-occupancy measures:
observations, interviews, surveys, and diary studies. Six issues informed studio redesign:
Aesthetics, Acoustics, Collaboration, Faculty Interaction, Sociability, and Stewardship. We transformed a single room design studio into four interconnected spaces: an area with individual workspaces, collaborative spaces, a kitchen and social cafe area, and a
classroom with distance learning technology. Student satisfaction significantly improved in the new studio according to survey results. Some participants' open-ended survey
comments suggest that functional needs were met, but some pleasure-related and
emotional needs linked to habitation were problematic. Claiming of individual workspaces and limited social norms were linked to mixed positive and negative responses on aesthetics and acoustics. Collaborative and social spaces, where there is no expectation of ownership, had uniformly positive results in both closed- and open-ended survey results.

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