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This course on the history of design thinking explores connections between the disciplines of architecture, interior architecture and industrial design. We will take into consideration current practice, particularly perceived problems, such as the alienating nature of many recent design projects. These prompt an inquiry into past principles that demand our attention now. Historical achievements are reinterpreted, with the aim of stimulating alternative design strategies.

The ancient Greeks and Romans are discussed, because their writings influenced designers in later epochs. A tradition of thinking about design stressed the significance of topics, such as order, proportion, analogy, symmetry, decorum, economy, ornament, the profile of mouldings, the angle of view, rhythmic measure, empathy, memory, monumentality and the play of light.

Emphasis is placed on the analogy between a person and a design. This involves the theory of a human being as a ‘type’, whose constitution accords with built forms. Analysis of this accentuates human characteristics and actions, which are associated with privileged forms. The history of design thinking offers insight into a human being, who feels an affinity with a city, street, building and room, as well as the fundamental elements of a column, door, window, ornament, chair and door handle.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Delivery Mode

Fully on-site

Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Additional Information

This course is offered as General Education.

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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