Designing a Workspace Get a peek into a First-Year Experience Tradition

Every Fall as part of their D104 studio, first-year students are tasked with designing and creating a workspace module out of cardboard. It's a decades-old College of Design tradition that leaves lasting memories with students and alumni.

Fall 2018 first-year design students Allegra Matthews, Ward Friszolowski, Madison Smith, and Lindsey Dotson share their experience with the project in Teaching Assistant Professor Sally VanGorder's studio.

"An important challenge embedded in this project is to discover strategies for working cooperatively. Defining expectations within the group and navigating critical dialog is difficult. It requires establishing trust and maintaining relationships, not just building a modular cardboard working space" - Sally VanGorder (First Year Experience Teacher)

"Though our group was chosen at random, we had the benefit of having someone from each of the four design disciplines allowing everyone to contribute different viewpoints and experiences" - Lindsey Dotson

“We had a lot of fun with the constraint that all cardboard had to be recycled. I never expected the College of Design would make us experts at dumpster diving” - Allegra Matthews

“Whenever we got stuck, leaving the project behind to go brainstorm in a quiet room was crucial to our process” -Madison Smith

"Ward came up with the first module which we were all instantly drawn to. It was tapered on both sides and had clothespins as connectors. As a team we put the original through a lot to make it work for our overall design" - Allegra Matthews

“Each teammate is represented in our final design because of the way the arches extend over and connect each individual workspace” - Ward Friszolowski

“This project had lots of “aha!” moments, lots of problem solving, and lots of discoveries. I think we all have a better understanding of how the design process works now" - Madison Smith

"A reviewer mentioned the joy of being able to teach and communicate openly throughout this space. We've really enjoyed learning in it so far and feel more collaborative and connected than before" - Lindsey Dotson

“Using binder clips to connect our structure was not only fun, but functional. In addition to having many non-permanent assembly options, we found them useful to create storage possibilities” - Allegra Matthews

“This experience revealed to me what a successful design team looks like” - Ward Friszolowski


Allegra Matthews, Ward Friszolowski, Madison Smith, and Lindsey Dotson

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