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Bridging the Design Divide: A Holistic Approach to the Built Environment

Navigating through the realms of design disciplines, an observer might discern a pattern – a division, sequestering each field into its own niche, operating in silos that seem distinctly independent. When registering House of Tamanaha as a corporation on LinkedIn, there was no option for 'interdisciplinary design.' The firm had to pick, and stick to, a single field - despite that being the exact opposite of the our studio ethos.

In reality, we believe that good design in every field requires us to respect their undeniable entanglement. It's time to illuminate these connections and embrace a unified, holistic approach to design, where the boundaries are blurred and collaboration becomes intrinsic.

An infographic displaying the traditional, discipline-based approach to the architectural design field.

Peering through the lens of interconnectedness, let's delve into how each traditionally segmented discipline actually spirals into a symphony of interconnected influences, thereby providing a fresh perspective on how we view and engage with each field:

  • Interior Architecture & Design: Beyond mere spatial aesthetics, interior design feeds into and is molded by the urban environment, creating public and private spaces that inherently become part of the larger urban and social narrative.

  • Architecture: Not only a vessel for interiors but a shaper of cities, architecture bridges the private and public, personal and communal, and must be seen as a participant in broader urban and ecological contexts.

  • Urban Planning: It's not just infrastructure and policy; it’s the sculpting of lived experiences, communal spaces, and environmental interventions, which are significantly influenced by architectural and interior strategies.

  • Product Design: More than creating objects, it's about crafting experiences, shaping interiors, and making informed, sustainable choices that reverberate through each space and structure they inhabit.

  • Sustainability: An umbrella that should span every field, where each design decision, from urban to product scale, is imprinted with a sustainable and regenerative ethos.

What if we began to view these not as separate fields but as different focal points within the same expansive domain of design? Each discipline is not an island but a point of focus, a lens through which we view and mold our built environment, shaped by and shaping each of the others:

  • Every Space is Urban: Whether designing a room, a building, or a product, recognizing each as a vital part of the urban fabric allows for designs that contribute meaningfully to the larger social and ecological narrative.

  • A Seamless Thread of Sustainability: A principle that does not discriminate based on scale or field – it should permeate every design choice, binding them together in a cohesive, sustainable strategy.

  • Collaboration as a Default: Erasing the hard boundaries between disciplines to foster an environment where interdisciplinary collaboration is not an exception but the norm.

A diagrammatic infographic describing the intrinsic links between the different design fields.

The crucial shift occurs when we stop viewing these not as separate fields, but as interwoven threads within the larger design tapestry. Every decision in one resonates through the others, shaping and being shaped in return, forming a complex, richly intertwined network of influences and impacts.

A shift from segmentation to unity, from isolated to interconnected thinking, propels us toward a future where design is a multifaceted, multidisciplinary dialogue. A future where we design considering the micro and macro, the object and the environment, and where sustainability is not a separate conversation but is intertwined within every decision we make. It's not just a reshaping of our environments but a reimagining of how we approach, perceive, and create within the boundless field of design.

An illustration showing a circular community network connecting people, water management, community gardening, and social spaces

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