Design Research between Design and Research

Nicolai Steinø, Thomas Markussen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The discourse on architecture and design research in Denmark in the past thirty years has been stuck in a unproductive dichotomy between research through design on the one hand and a phantom image of academic and theoretical, word-based research on the other.

Advocates of the research through design strand have argued, that architecture and design research must follow an architecture and design methodology – designing – and be communicated by means of architecture and design media – images and artefacts. Essentially, this view sees no difference between architecture and design research and practice, as expressed in the notion of research as ‘artistic innovation work’.

On the other hand, the pressure to expand research in architecture and design has seen a movement towards adopting traditional research paradigms from the
technical and social sciences and humanities. For many architects and designers, this has been seen as an untimely invasion of paradigms which are not only alien to the architecture and design culture, but also fundamentally unable to capture the essence of architecture and design and hence to convey any meaningful new knowledge in the field.

The argument of this paper is that both positions are equally wrong. Design is the act of creating something new; something which wasn’t there before. Research is the act of creating new knowledge and is therefore in itself a design process. And just as design is a dialectic process of action and reflection, so is research. Hence, the main difference between design and research is in the object; design creates artefacts (physical or abstract) and research creates knowledge.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationWhen Architects and Designers Write, Draw, Build, ? a PhD : The 2011 symposium of the Nordic Association of Architectural Research, Aarhus School of Architecture
Number of pages1
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event“When Architects and Designers Write, Draw, Build, ? a PhD”. The 2011 symposium of the Nordic Association of Architectural Research, Aarhus School of Architecture - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 4 May 20116 May 2011

Conference

Conference“When Architects and Designers Write, Draw, Build, ? a PhD”. The 2011 symposium of the Nordic Association of Architectural Research, Aarhus School of Architecture
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityAarhus
Period04/05/201106/05/2011

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