Ethnography: Exploring material flows in design practice


One thread of my research explores the material flows of technology production in the context of natural resource limits through the practices of traditional woodworking. I performed ethnographic fieldwork in a local woodworking community for two years, examining joinery construction techniques as openings for designing with sufficiency and ecological limits as central assumptions. What lessons might the processes of timber framing have for the sites, practices and pedagogies of sustainable design? How might existing joinery techniques critically interject in contemporary design practices like rapid prototyping, particularly with regard to principles like internal integrity, anticipated repair, and long-term maintenance?