Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Arts, 5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *pedagogy, Art history

Publication Details

Journal of Design History


In 1966, British artist, designer and educator Simon Nicholson (1934–1990) offered a lower division course, Design 12, at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley. Controversially, Nicholson promoted play as the principal method of design and invited children to assess students’ projects on the Berkeley campus and in local schools, parks, playgrounds and hospitals. This article presents Design 12 as an important example of environmental design pedagogy in the USA, which uniquely attempted to synthesize British post-war constructivism with ‘design science’ and adventure play. The result was a course that placed play at the centre of design pedagogy, where it could combine intuition with systems building to promote ‘involved science’ and co-construction.