X100: A Design Exercise

I’ve just started teaching at Yale. The first project was a kind of ice breaker, and I thought I’d post the brief here. You’re very welcome to have a go yourselves.


If you repeat a word, saying it out loud 100 times, the word begins to lose its meaning. It starts to sound strange, and its meaning dissolves. The more you say it the more alien it seems to become. What was once familiar sounds and feels stranger and stranger. Suddenly, language, which usually flows naturally from our mouths, feels un-natural – as though it is a newly invented gadget. Which of course, relatively speaking, it is.

I’d like to try a similar design exercise: A fast and furious design riff.


Choose a design object. This might be a building or an object. Ideally this will be fairly generic. This might mean a product of rational and unspectacular international modernism, corporate generic-ness, or mass-produced ordinariness. Or any other kind of well-known object type or building typology.

You are to redesign this object or buiulding one hundred times.

In order to prompt these redesigns, think of how a person or identity might alter the design.

Think of how a condition or state might modify it.

Think of how all kinds of un-architectural attributes might attributed to your example.

And keep thinking (and drawing) until you have 100.


Do this in two hours.


Each design must be drawn on a plain 5 x 7 index card, with a title written below.


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