Studio Intensive: Deconstruction & Reconstruction

Faculty: Ayse Birsel




Processes of deconstruction and reconstruction are some of the most powerful tools for the designer. Objects and experiences come to us packaged in coherent wholes and, as creative thinkers, we have the opportunity to tenaciously question these wholes in order to evaluate, understand and reshape them. Deconstruction is a simple and intuitive way to take apart our present reality and to perceive it anew—as a set of abstractions—freeing us to be both critical and appreciative of the way things might otherwise go together. Reconstruction combines the deconstructed parts in new ways to derive innovative, novel solutions. In this course, students create taxonomies of their daily activities and priorities, and re-imagine them as a visual language.



This course introduces a process that encourages designers to quickly abstract the products of design down to their constituent parts; to reinterpret those parts based on a set of criteria (including point of view); and to build them back up to create new instantiations with new design potential. Students are encouraged to think abstractly and with daring, and to question assumptions about design, form, and intent.



This is a studio class where students work in teams and co-create with outside participants from other SVA departments, and/or communities outside of the school. 



Students in this course will come away with a set of tools to:

  • Assess and deconstruct a variety of design artifacts and contexts
  • Reconstruct original and unique solutions, systems and realities
  • Learn to make dichotomies co-exist, translating tension into opportunity
  • Explode constraints with deliberate imagination
  • Frame intuition with a thought structure
  • Carry a new logic forward as a repeatable process for future design engagements