Monday, August 24, 2009


This Blog Entry is from Randy Fielding:

In the design world, there is often a break between analytical and artistic intelligence. Most of us are more comfortable in one realm than the other, and emphasize either words or images as our primary tools for expression.

Remarkably, Jeff can alternate between analysis and art with a rapid, dazzling brilliance.

For example, during the discovery phase of Cristo Rey High School, we surveyed the opinions of the educational leadership team regarding their reading of Prakash Nair's 30 Strategies for Educational Reform. We knew that the responses were important in determining the right kind of learning environment for Cristo Rey. The question became: how do we tabulate the data to make it readily usable as designers?

Jeff created a weighted spreadsheet that organized the responses into categories that immediately established clear design priorities. We have since used his weighting process on dozens of projects around the world to create data-driven designs--plans that respond authentically to local needs within the context of a research-based and global context.

After tabulating the data on educational strategies for Cristo Rey, Jeff went on to turn rough workshop design diagrams produced by stakeholders into elegantly annotated pattern drawings with the colorful flair that we might expect from Picasso.

The planning team was blown away by the design pattern workbook that Jeff created, which alternated between richly-textured images and data mined from our experiences together. As a designer, I felt wonderfully armed with an integrated palette of words, numbers and diagrams.

Jeff is a hero in the field of research-based design. In both the designs that he created and in the processes that he pioneered, Jeff has led the way. His legacy will be felt by generations of learners in environments that nurture mind, body, and spirit.

I took this photo of Jeff on the "Endless Bridge" at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis -- a wonderful metaphor for Jeff own legacy -- an endless bridge between art and science.

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