Experimentation and Representation in Architecture: analyzing one’s own design activity

FLORIO, Wilson and SEGALL, Mario Lasar (2009). Experimentation and Representation in Architecture: analyzing one’s own design activity. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Architects materialize ideas on physical supports to register their thoughts and to discover new possibilities from hints and suggestions in their own drawings. Uncertainty is inherent to creative processes encouraging the production of different ideas through testing.

This research brings to light that the re-examination of artefacts from new points of view allows for the review and generation of design ideas and decisions, capacitating students to make yet new discoveries from what they have done so far. Tacit knowledge aids specific decisions. Student reports become analytical records of their material registers (sketches, physical and virtual models) making it explicit that which is implicit in those artefacts. This apparently confirms previous studies that suggest that knowledge per se not always triggers or controls decisions in design. Many physical as well as perceptive actions actually lead the initial steps and play a crucial role in the whole course of production. Besides serving as external representations, sketches and models provide visual hints that will be checked later, favouring the upcoming of the unexpected, stimulating creativity. The intent here is to point out how these different means of representation and expression contribute in a peculiar manner to the whole process of discovery and solution to problems in architecture.

The authors propose here a reflection on the process of design and its uncertainties in its initial phase, concentrating on sketches and real models as experimentations. They consider these means not from a graphic and physical register stand point, but in terms of conception and concepts they embody, as records of students thinking and knowledge.

Experimentation; Uncertainty; Representation; Design Process; Cognition; Education

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:35
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/493

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