Stratford Stage One : the development of an alternative design process
Architectural thesis projects too often are concerned only with the design of buildings. This project will use the design of a building as support of a thesis, namely that a building can, and in fact, should address pragmatic and esoteric issues simultaneously. Theory and reality must operate in tandem.A number of questions have been raised about the tenets of modern architecture, not the least of which is the alienation of the user, and lack of concern for the human issues in design, like territory, personalization and a link with the past. This concern for human issues in design can form the basis for a philosophy of design.If a human oriented approach is to be used, then one of the things that must change is the processes used to design a building. The traditional, or linear approach by its very nature elevated the architect to the role of prophet, and excludes the user from the design of the building. Surely, a person who is to use a space knows at least as much as the architect about his needs.The alternative design process presented introduces the user into the design process at an early stage. In this system, the architect will explore human issues of each spacekby designing each space soon after a schematic design is developed. Then, having a feel for the issues at hand in each space, he can proceed with the synthesis of the building confident that he understands the forces involved.The project used for the support of this thesis, and the experimentation in the design process, is a new facility for the Stratford Shakesperian Festival of Canada, located in Stratford, Ontario. The project, and the site it sits on, will add exciting dimensions to the scope of the project. This building will house a single, large studio theatre that will act as a new third stage for the festival, a sound recording studio, and a television studio. It will also contain some necessary support facilities.After completion of the project, a comparison was made that attempts to show the differences between the approach outlined above, and the traditional approach. By comparing this project with another that was designed recently using a similar program, it is clear that this approach creates a building more responsive to human need.