The act of architectural design is an application of method. Yet, method in architecture, as in all design fields, is considered to be indescribable, unexplainable, personal and intuitive. However, this is not entirely true. Revealing Architectural Design introduces the reader to architecture from the point of view of thinking processes including definitions of domains and syntax, techniques of creative and analytic thinking, and issues of relevance. Using straightforward language and examples, the book is an advanced primer connecting thinking and decision-making to constant, underlying frameworks that create the architectural design process.
The book provides examples of real design outcomes and illustrates the thinking processes and techniques that occurred to allow them to happen. These thinking processes are tied into three persistent conceptual frameworks engaging architecture through the application of patterns, the negotiation of forces, or the alignment to a concept. Each of the frameworks has different priorities, applies various conceptual tools and, yet, shares ways of thinking. The book reveals how knowledge in creativity studies, heuristics, cognitive science, intellectual history, philosophy and architectural theory is connected to contemporary architectural design practice strategies. It presents architecture as a discipline defined by boundaries, discourse and syntax that introduces concerns for designers such as internal versus external syntax, framing bias, thinking styles, first principles reduction, and techniques of knowledge transfer.
Awareness of conceptual frameworks affords designers greater flexibility in the application of method and a clearer approach to their work - making it visible, defensible, and open for development. The book focused on post-foundation architecture students but will be useful to anyone interested in increasing the quality of their architectural design proposals through understanding the conceptual tools used to achieve that process.
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Philip D. Plowright is Associate Professor of Architectural Design, History and Theory at Lawrence Technological University. He is a founder of the systems-based think tank, synchRG, a registered architect, and Editor-in-Chief of Enquiry, the ARCC Journal of Architectural Research. He has published and lectured widely around issues of meaning, interpretation and process in architectural design.
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