F.C.D.I.

There is that one house down the street.  You know – the one that you drive by every morning, and think “what the heck happened there?” or “What were they thinking?!”

The truth is, we all have opinions on what is good design, or bad design.  Even if you’re not a designer, you observe things every day and judge their quality even if you recognize it or not.

This raises the question: on what basis do we judge design?  Isn’t it all objective?

Well, yes – it is.          …for the most part.

This is a huge hurdle that every design professional has to hurtle if not continuously, then some point in their carrier: How do I achieve universal quality design?  Is there such a thing as “universal”?

With the amount of designers on this blog, we could debate about this all day, but we should like to share with you a concept that the studio here is using to continually evaluate the quality of our design:

A

F.C.D.I

A

If you haven’t heard of this acronym before, OMG don’t worry!  You’re kids probably aren’t using it on their texts yet.

A

2,000 years this Roman architect named Vitruvius used these words to qualify “quality design”

A

Firmness                 Commodity                 Delight

A

Since his treatise on architecture was translated in the 17th century, these concepts have been the common basis of architectural evaluation.

A


FIRMNESS

When we talk about firmness, one can imagine measuring the stability of something by holding it firmly in your hand.  The the case of a building, how  does the shape hold? How do the materials respond to the environment and age?  Is the structure stable?


A

COMMODITY

All design is subject to the general uses of the universe – it’s functionality.  Commodity simply begs the questions of how useful is this?  Is it of value to its target audience?  Can it be sold?  High commodity is when function meets the purpose.


A

DELIGHT

Delight encompasses the qualitative analysis including but not limited to aesthetic, feeling, response, atmosphere, and pleasure.  It can be argued that delight is dependent on and enhanced by the other two conditions – firmness and commodity.


a

a

a

Great!  So now we have F.C.D., but what does the “I” stand for?  Well you know designers, we like to add our own little quip to the conversation.  As we have been developing the Solar Decathlon and the CropSTOP, it has become apparent that there is a whole another quality that we are striving for in these projects:

a


INNOVATION

As time rolls on, how can we resist adding to or changing a good thing to make it better?  Innovation involves employing new solutions for existing, new, or developing needs.  Not to be confused with novelty, innovation is born when new applications have a positive impact on society.


a

a

These four qualities are the basis on which we are continually evaluating our current projects.  What we do is rate each of these qualities from 0 to 100, with 100 being a perfect score, and then average them all to get our overall score.

For example, here is my personal current rating on the CropSTOP

A

FIRMNESS                COMMODITY                 DELIGHT                INNOVATION

84                               95                               91                              78

a

Radar Chart Project Rating

a

AVERAGE

87

A

What this evaluation system does is let us know where we need to improve.  The scores also let us know how we are doing relative to the project’s goals.  For example, the commodity score is pretty high right now because over the past 2 months, we have continually refined the design based on how functional it will be for the client.  Innovation is lower because it’s a lot of basic framing for phase 1, which is the outdoor spaces, but will improve once the buildings are installed next semester with the Solar D construction system we are developing.

a

So there you go – F.C.D.I – it’s the next big thing.  Tell your kids.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: