||WHAT IS DESIGNER PiE?
Designer PiE is a Macintosh based, electronic model for
environmental designers. It consists of three interrelated models
intended to help
designers think about thinking about design. The PiE models
theoretical design concepts, useful modes of design thinking and
fundamental design questions through a combination of images of wide
scope, words, poems, diagrams and other symbolic structures.
Designer PiE is a collection of theoretical tools. It is intended
as a useful project development guide which encourages designers to
expand the range of their considerations, to think about them with
greater breadth and depth and from many points of view.
The Nine Ways:
Spaces: The first model consists of the nine spaces or wedges of the
PiE wheel. These are the "Nine" Ways of Thinking About Design.
course there are many more than nine ways of thinking about design,
and the PiE, like a good pizza, gathers together concepts, ideas and
view of flavorful compatibility in its chambers. The ways chosen for
inclusion are those which have proven to be useful. Titles such as
Issues and Questions: The Pregnant Present and Vivid Presence are
intended, like Garrett Hardins sweet singing
butters my bread/ His song I sing), to be fish-hook
phrases, verbal hooks which get stuck in the mind and call up
perspectives or regions of thought. It is in the spirit of this
model for designers (which might be best symbolized by the &) for
designer to join in the modeling and contribute his/her own favorite
ways of thinking to the mix.
This sub-model of the PiE has no beginning and no end. Its
random structure is expressed by its circular configuration. The idea is
start with a way of thinking that makes sense and feels comfortable
and then try on some other modes and thoughts. The PiE attempts to
catch you wherever you are and stimulate your thinking - and then
encourages you to cover more territory. The observation that people
think about and approach problems differently appears so obvious as
to be not worth mentioning. But where are the design tools which
acknowledge and build on this commonplace?
Let Us Count The Ways:
1. Issues and Questions: The Pregnant
Thinking about the situation of environmental change per se;
about place inertia and the ripeness of people and places for change;
and the way that conflicting environmental forces can be pointed
toward resolution by casting them in issue form - on the one
hand...; on the other hand...; therefore....
2. Naming and Numbers:
Thinking about the significant parts of projects, their names,
sizes, relationships and number, naming the parts so as to
sharpen their existence in human consciousness, naming the project
so as to more clearly communicate what is being done and what is not
while holding on to the awareness that this cutting into parts must
be simultaneous in the mind with the sense of the environment and
consciousness as a seamless web, and that names, when the object is
to directly experience the world, are like looking through a dirty
3. Center, Sine Qua Non:
Thinking about environ-mental valuing, what we are interested in,
care about, dream about, our hopes, our ideals and also
what we specifically want to achieve through the current project.
Thinking about the range of interests which characterize the work at
value prioities, the projects heartland, and what we would
consider sine qua non (that without which there is none).
4. Intimacy: People & Place:
Thinking about the evaluation of places that acknowledges the
need for a full range of kinds of human knowing,
that utilizes both scientific and poetic understanding and that also
recognizes the important differences between insiders and outsiders in
process of environmental transformation. The concept of place
includes people. Knowing about places occurs within a valuing
5. Type & Archetype:
Thinking about places and projects within the existing categories
of environmental design experience- as types - that
exhibit certain persistent characteristic parts and relationships.
These often prove useful templates for further investigation and provide
historical trail of trial and imperfect yet expressive answers to
ongoing environmental questions. Thinking about that which is fundamental
categories, i.e., prototypical and also about those open-ended
structures,the archetypes, that connect us with the deeper reaches
of the human psyche.
6. Field & Focus:
Thinking about the field effect of the significant contexts of a
project ( the climate of belief and
opinion in a place is clearly a field effect) and the way that
projects are centers of change in contexts of many kinds and
scales, from intellectual to emotional to physical, and from
regional to 3" = 1'-0". Thinking about "attending to"
focusing within and across complex environmental design fields.
7. Image / Place:
Thinking about the idea and useage of the concept, image, in
design (especially as developed by Kevin
Lynch) as in image map, image diagnosis, and image design. Thinking
about a companion concept, place, especially as it has
been described by such authors as Tuan, Heidegger cum
Norberg-Schulz, Relph and more recently in the book Placeways by
8. Vivid Presence:
Thinking about, vividly imagining, sensing, mentally and
emotionally visiting, and sometimes merging with the
places we are making; (Make the future a movie in your mind.);
focusing especially on the characteristics, qualities, and other
kinds of experience which are most often lost when translated into
abstract symbols - as for example when we compare the
direct and powerful impact of the color yellow with the word yellow
on a page.
9. From Here To There:
Thinking strategically about projects from both an intentional
and formative point of view. Moving
from an understanding of what the project is about to how to
cleverly accomplish its goals. Project management of tasks in
time in order to embody programmatic understanding in physical form.
Thinking about how to work with people in order to get
things done well. Useful strategies
THE NINE QUESTIONS
The nine lines of the PiE represent the Nine Questions that
"always have to be asked in any environmental design
project. This second sub-model of the PiE, unlike the first, is
intended to be more of a linear process. It is useful to try to
answer the questions in order, or at least try to cover them all in
an order related to the project at hand. The questions are
expressed as the lines of a circle because they can be usefully
asked again and again (at different scales) as a project
develops, and through recycling, yield successively better
integrated and better-developed answers. Both models are
intended to support the developmental nature of design thinking and
the recycling habit which is so clearly the mark of the
The third sub-model is found at the Heart of at the PiE. It consists
of a model of four central concepts in design theory
and a series of charts which develop the idea of a valuing
experience as a context for environ-mental designing. Both the
Nine Ways and the Nine Questions models are elaborations of the
design uses of the concepts: Attending to, Intending toward,
Forming out of, Meaning in experience. Together the three models
make a whole PiE, an expressive example of the way that
designing weaves complex materials into an integrative whole.
Why PiE? PiE2K? (Stick in your
A delicious integrated whole of many ways; the three in one
(designer snakeoil?); mental pizza; an evolutionary whole, never
finished but whole at every stage; PiE the wheel of consciousness
always incomplete, always rolling, turning, returning with the
remodeling of places, always indeterminate...pi = 3.14159etc;
metaphorically, the constancy of an evolutionary human mind in
environ-mental relationships; environmental valuing; PiE, a visual
pun, an electronic pastry which is as open-ended as the concept it is
discuss and in an e-form that makes it easy to develop, update,
remodel and extend. PIE2K? MILLENNIAL PiE.
Stick in your thumb!