Architecture Reflection Essay

The design studio environment has remained the same throughout the past century. As the Studio Culture Task Force of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) (Koch et al., 2006) noted, the ongoing changes in architecture education are not aligned with today׳s fast-changing world, especially in the context of architectural practice. The AIAS analyzed the design studio problem and expressed doubts on the effectiveness of current studio practices in providing adequate design-thinking education. The report indicates that studio culture values project appearance instead of the actual design process. In recent years, similar problems have been the topic of debates in Khartoum. Criticisms are mostly centered on the observation that students show no interest in the design process and tend to focus on form making. As a result, efforts to teach design methods and to restore the balance between creativity and rationality in the design process have failed. The reason is related to the difficulties associated with the implicit nature of conventional design methods. These difficulties, which are common in architecture schools, include the lack of a clearly defined design methodology and the misunderstood role of the systematic approach to design in the studio. Nevertheless, signs of change are gradually emerging, as demonstrated by the global call for change in the studio environment. This call for change indicates a general agreement on the need for the reorientation of architectural design education toward an engaging policy that considers the social responsibility of architects. This study proposes that the route for change is through the return of rationalism in the studio. Since the 1960 s, many writers have recognized the importance of balancing rationality and creativity, which are mutually interdependent, in the design process. From this perspective, the research question is drawn: how can we bridge the gap between the rational and the creative design activities in the design process? A theory that conceptualizes the idea of knowledge interdependence does not exist. The available design theories, such as rational problem solving and reflective-in-action theory, deal with different aspects of design activity. Both theories fail to describe the integration of the rational and the creative aspects of the design process. Therefore, we propose the integration of the two theories into a new theory called the integrated design paradigm. The proposed theory serves as a theoretical base upon which the interdependence of the rational and the creative phases of the design process can be conceptualized. We aim to bridge the gap between the two design phases by considering research knowledge interdependency as a unifying activity. The first phase is a systematic method involving research, the use of positive theory, and the production of basic principles. The creative practice phase also involves research and focuses on understanding the rational knowledge developed in the systematic phase, including the basic principles and design strategy, as well as on the application of these concepts to the design problem.

The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Ethiopian Institute of Technology EiT of Mekelle University (MU) is currently developing a research program in which the development of and reflection on design methods is a key research area. Within this framework, the present study is intends to be an introductory effort to guide future empirical research. The present study aims to describe the design process of architects, and introduces theoretical and technical frameworks. The integrated design paradigm as a system of inquiry within the spatial relationship strategy is framed.

Vernacular buildings across the globe provide instructive examples of sustainable solutions to building problems. Yet, these solutions are assumed to be inapplicable to modern buildings. Despite some views to the contrary, there continues to be a tendency to consider innovative building technology as the hallmark of modern architecture because tradition is commonly viewed as the antonym of modernity. The problem is addressed by practical exercises and fieldwork studies in the application of vernacular traditions to current problems. This study investigates some aspects of mainstream modernist design solutions and concepts inherent in the vernacular of Asia, particularly that of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). This work hinges on such ideas and practices as ecological design, modular and incremental design, standardization, and flexible and temporal concepts in the design of spaces. The blurred edges between the traditional and modern technical aspects of building design, as addressed by both vernacular builders and modern architects, are explored.

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