ARbD Architecture Research by Design

Scientific coordination:
João Menezes de Sequeira - CHAIA / EU

Research Project Objectives
Creating the basis for a proposal of a PhD in Architectural Research by Design.
This project is part of a research that is started in the EAAE Research Group and today is continued at ARENA -
Architectural Research European Network Association.

This program has as main objective the training of future researchers and supervisors in architectural research by design
according to scientific excellence, trough-out the learning of new research techniques developed inside the broader
concept of research by design.
To achieve this objectives the program will be structured in the following way: candidates are selected according to their
academic and practical curriculum by a committee formed by beneficiaries and partners (academy and industry); each
beneficiary has 3 candidates at their responsibility, but each one must make a minimum of 6 months of secondment in
another beneficiary university (time on a partner institution can be count only in the receiving institution). The
distribution of secondment's between beneficiaries should be equal. Each month all candidates will meet for a week in a
beneficiary or partner institution for a joint workshop were she/he present the progress of their research, about subjects
and about methods. In the afternoon of the last day all the supervisors will have a plenary session where they discuss the
progress of the researchers and their achievements. Along the other days of the month the candidates will have their
activity in the receiving beneficiary institutions.
These objectives are innovative, international and intrasectoral and have the main goal focused on the development of
skis and knowledge in research methods in and for architectural industry but also in art and urban design. The
interconnection between academia and industry and the development of entrepreneurship is also crucial for this
program. It develops the skills necessary for innovation in small and medium enterprises. And develops knowledge for
solving societal challenges

(international Conference)
1st TU Delft - ARENA
Conference Architectural Research vis-à-vis Research-by-Design:Prototypes and Paradigms
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
1 November 2013 (conference)
2 November 2013 (meeting) 

After 10 years of exploring the possibilities and ways to integrate Research-by-Design into Architecture Design Studio
Teaching and PhD Theses in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at various universities in Europe and
around the world, the time has come to investigate these matured/maturing research approaches in relation to existing
paradigms of architectural research & design.
The Delft Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment has hosted, in collaboration with the ARENA Architectural
Research Network, the 1st Meeting of a series, which explores and discusses all of the existing and emerging paradigms
at PhD level in architecture faculties throughout Europe.

(International Conference)
ARbD’14 - Fourth International Conference on Architectural Research by Design:
Unifying Academia and Practice through Research
2nd ARENA Architectural Research Network Meeting
May 2014

Research by design is a broader concept that includes “practice-based research” and “practice-led research” which means
that we are talking about two kinds of methodologies of research: one involves research through practice and the other
involves research about practice. The difference is methodological, because one is research where the inquiry is leading
to new understandings about and within the processes of design conception while the other is research about something
that does not yet exist and which uses architectural practice as the research method.
In terms of the general concept of architectural research, this conference adopts the definition given in the EAAE
Research Charter (2012), which we helped to develop: “Architectural research is original investigation undertaken in order
to generate knowledge, insights and understanding based on competences, methods and tools proper to the discipline of
architecture. It has its own particular knowledge base, mode, scope, tactics and strategies.” And in turn, research by
design is defined as “any kind of inquiry in which (…) the architectural design process forms the pathway through which
new insights, knowledge, practices or products come into being. It generates critical inquiry through design work.”

International Seminar on Architectural Research Practice
Hosted by : ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Department of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering
Tössfeldstrasse 11 CH-8401 Winterthur
November 2014

(international Conference - DR_SOM)
Conference "The empathic turn"
University of Antwerp
Design takes a central role in the creation, comprehension and development of architecture. The designed artefact acts as
an epistemic object, embodying various kinds of knowledge. Through spatial structure and expression, the designed
building mirrors and constructs society and culture. The act of designing  provokes a future-oriented state of mind, an
inquiry-based mental mode of imagination and creation, resulting in spatial articulation, aiming at anticipating and
influencing societal change.
May 2015

Aim and rationale
After some decades of development, design research definitely has come of age. Dynamism, originality and particularity
are major features of this field of research, and must be cherished.
There is no longer any merit in demonstrating the existence of high level academic design research, nor in
demonstrating the breadth of this field, nor the multitude and diversity of issues that it tackles.  Instead there is a need for
a stronger establishment of this field of research,  in order to reach and convince a broader audience, inside and outside
the field, researchers as well as practitioners, institutions and industry as well as policy makers.
The epitheton ‘Design Research’ still acts as a huge umbrella, spanning a broad range of diverse approaches. The
rationale of the ARENA project ‘Design Research, Series on Method’ (DR_SOM) consists in the belief that discerning
common and distinctive features between approaches, and identifying particularities and coherence between themes,
tools, strategies, and discourse, will contribute to a better understanding of the scope and capacities of design research.
This will be helpful to be more precise in research proposals, in identifying appropriate peers, in establishing accurate
assessment of the outcome, and finally it will inspire for future endeavours. At last, a better comprehension of design
research as an academic field and culture, will contribute to a better communication, interaction and exchange with other
research disciplines and communities. It will demonstrate its ability to be a catalyst for inter- and trans-disciplinary
endeavours, and offer new approaches to pending issues.

Through a series of research seminars and workshops, the DR_SOM project will sequentially focus on particularities and
common ground within kindred approaches in architectural design research, including design as creative practice to
generate insights through making, through inventing new typologies, through emanating theoretical concepts, through
mimicking nature, through scenario writing, through action research etcetera. Each meeting consists of a small group of
researchers (e.g.15 to 30), gathered through a particular approach, and sharing this interest in the issue of methodology
in design research. Panel presentations and table discussions, organized in time slots allowing for in-depth debates and
avoiding parallel sessions - will lead to mutual exchange of expert knowledge between presenters and commenters, and
novice and senior researchers.

© Johan De Walsche

Scientific committee:

Johan De Walsche, UAntwerpen (project leader)
João Sequeira, LabART/ULHT Lisbon ;
Pieter Versteegh, EIA-Fribourg;
Johan Verbeke, KULeuven/Luca/Aarhus;
Flora Samuel, Sheffield;
Oya Atalay Franck, ZHAW Winterthur;
Beth Shotton, UCD;
Murray Fraser, UCL Bartlett;
Susanne Komossa/Roberto Cavallo, TUDelft;
Design Research, Series on Method
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