Researching in Architecture Practices

PhD STAGES:

Postdoc

EVALUATION STAGES:

Presentation / discussion and Selection

MATERIALS:

Abstract, Full paper / artefact, and Poster

DISCIPLINES:

Architecture
Methodological Fragments
Harold Fallon

Files: abstract, poster, full paper

Fragments from proceedings (‘paper submission’)’:

Abstract.

This paper addresses the methodology of existing researches in active (professional) practices. The author obtained a PhD in his own practice, is currently supervising one doctorate nearing completion, in which the architectural practice is pivotal, and supervises two PhD proposals in young promising practices. In these researches, the subject is essentially threefold. First, there is the knowledge about the practices themselves. Other practices such as music, travelling, writing, fine rts, any practice can be part of the research, as long as they are connected to the architectural practice.

Second, there are the themes, the inspirationaal forces, the field of interests. This field of interest is not closed : other themes can appear during the research, similar to new projects that will appear in the practices during the PhD process. The paper will expand the notion of inspirational force in comparison to scientific subject. Third, the research explores the interaction between the two above. The researched themes provoke understandings about the practices. Inversely, the practice lead to new understandings on the themes. The complex nature of these interaction is inevitably a subject in itself. The methodology is structured around two fields: the practice and the inspirational forces. Inside these fields, the research is situated in specific actions and reflections.

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Keywords.

Research by Design; Architecture Practice; Research in architecture Practice; methodology; inspiration

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Process

Finally, I would like to refer briefly to three artefacts researching the design process. These are different from the former because they explicitly aim at understanding some aspects of the practice. However, they fit also in this paper because they are local research artefacts framing in a research, following different mechanisms which are not related to the global methodology. 

In “Metarbitrariness”, Harold Fallon decomposes the design process of the Carré des Arts /…/  by displaying a series of work documents in a way that reflects the ongoing choices and hesitations. This exhaustive display of sketches and presentation documents on a single display allowed to understand the mechanism of opening up hypothetic possibilities and closing again to workable options in iterative refinements.

The last one is still different. The book “Philippe Vande Maren & Richard Venlet – In Practice” addresses the entire design process from the point of view of the architects, making use of external points of view as sounding boards (a writer, a photographer, a graphic designer…). The account of the design process can easily frame in a research about the practice.

The list of these methodological fragments could be extended. The border between the items of the list is sometimes unclear. Maybe this is not really a difficulty. The value of identifying them is to consider them as underlying mechanisms rather than strict objects or procedures. They show that this kind of artefacts can fruitfully be realized following a diversity of paths. They show also that these experiments are carefully designed by the authors (of the practice and of the research), and thus can become part of both of them.