Abstract

Transferring knowledge about diverse users’ experiences from research into architectural design practice is not straightforward. Effective knowledge transfer requires taking into account architects’ design practice. This paper explores a research approach to gain insight into architects’ designerly ways of knowing about users. It discusses why an ethnographic research approach offers a means to study a culture of practice such as architectural design practice. A fieldwork account from a pilot study in an architecture firm provides insight into the experiential issues architects deal with. It illustrates how fieldwork techniques can be applied to map the socio-material aspects (e.g., different stakeholders and design materials) that mediate knowledge about users. Exploiting these aspects of architectural design practice is expected to open new ways of thinking about informing architects about users’ experiences. For instance, there lies an opportunity in engaging architects’ creative representational skills, which challenges architects’ and researchers’ roles in knowledge transfer.

Keywords:

architectural design; ethnography; knowledge; research methodology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Capturing architects’ designerly ways of knowing about users: Exploring an ethnographic research approach

Transferring knowledge about diverse users’ experiences from research into architectural design practice is not straightforward. Effective knowledge transfer requires taking into account architects’ design practice. This paper explores a research approach to gain insight into architects’ designerly ways of knowing about users. It discusses why an ethnographic research approach offers a means to study a culture of practice such as architectural design practice. A fieldwork account from a pilot study in an architecture firm provides insight into the experiential issues architects deal with. It illustrates how fieldwork techniques can be applied to map the socio-material aspects (e.g., different stakeholders and design materials) that mediate knowledge about users. Exploiting these aspects of architectural design practice is expected to open new ways of thinking about informing architects about users’ experiences. For instance, there lies an opportunity in engaging architects’ creative representational skills, which challenges architects’ and researchers’ roles in knowledge transfer.

 

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