monad of
Above all, the student has to locate their interest(s). The brief or theme may set the boundaries of a design project in class, but the contours of the project have to be drawn, and re-drawn4, by the student. Locating one’s interest can be a lifelong quest and can be quite intimidating and frustrating. Unlike locating the centroid of a triangle mathematically, this process is akin to locating the genius loci of a place. This ‘drawing out5 of areas of interests from within forces the student to engage in acts of introspection. Often, these areas of interests are drawn from the student’s personal or lived experience, which leads to a deeper engagement with the project. With each student formulating their own brief, centred or rather anchored6 around their own areas of interest, an inevitable diversity of projects emerges in the classroom, thus further enriching the learning process.

The significance of the Monad cannot be understated, for, over time7, it cultivates the student’s interests, inclinations, orientations or attitudes towards the world, thus revealing their primary disposition8 towards design.

  1. The student should be allowed, in good measure, to deviate from the brief. Digressions or wanderings are an important part of the learning process.
  2. Education from the Latin Educere meaning ‘drawing out from within’. Education is a transformative process.
  3. Locating an interest is like finding an anchor to moor your ship, which in turn is like a process of centering. Read M.C. Richards in Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person (1989).
  4. “This is how philosophers should greet each other – take your time.” Read Ludwig Wittgenstein in Culture and Value (1980).
  5. A disposition is not just an attitude, but a way of being in this world. Read Martin Heidegger in Being & Time (1962).