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Morphology and design: reconciling intellect, intuition, and ethics in the reflective practice of architecture

Hanson, J; (2001) Morphology and design: reconciling intellect, intuition, and ethics in the reflective practice of architecture. In: (Proceedings) 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper starts by exploring models of knowledge in order to place architectural knowledgein relation to the forms of knowledge that have been developed by other academic disciplineswithin the universities. In the light of suggestions that the low esteem in which architectureis held within the universities may be due to its basis in practice and its apparent lack of acoherent body of knowledge, the proposition is made that morphology has a special place inadvancing architectural knowledge because it is able to make the link between design and itssocial consequences. Understanding this relationship is vital if architecture is to defend itsposition as an art that is of general social relevance as opposed to being the domain of thesocially privileged. Kolb?s learning cycle is introduced as a device to track the forms of knowledgethat are essential to the reflective practice of a genuinely social architecture and to relatethese to the insights into morphology and design that have been provided by space syntaxover the past two decades. ?Sheltered? housing for older people is taken as an example of howa morphological approach can offer an enlightened critique of design guidance that articulatesthe authentic experiences of the inhabitants. The creative interplay of intellect and intuition isconsidered in relation to how morphology can help to clarify strategic design choices early onin the design process. The importance of briefing and evaluation are also stressed as essentialingredients that will enable space syntax to turn Kolb?s learning cycle into a dynamic learningprocess. The paper concludes by proposing an ethical framework for design. This paper starts by exploring models of knowledge in order to place architectural knowledgein relation to the forms of knowledge that have been developed by other academic disciplineswithin the universities. In the light of suggestions that the low esteem in which architectureis held within the universities may be due to its basis in practice and its apparent lack of acoherent body of knowledge, the proposition is made that morphology has a special place inadvancing architectural knowledge because it is able to make the link between design and itssocial consequences. Understanding this relationship is vital if architecture is to defend itsposition as an art that is of general social relevance as opposed to being the domain of thesocially privileged. Kolb?s learning cycle is introduced as a device to track the forms of knowledgethat are essential to the reflective practice of a genuinely social architecture and to relatethese to the insights into morphology and design that have been provided by space syntaxover the past two decades. ?Sheltered? housing for older people is taken as an example of howa morphological approach can offer an enlightened critique of design guidance that articulatesthe authentic experiences of the inhabitants. The creative interplay of intellect and intuition isconsidered in relation to how morphology can help to clarify strategic design choices early onin the design process. The importance of briefing and evaluation are also stressed as essentialingredients that will enable space syntax to turn Kolb?s learning cycle into a dynamic learningprocess. The paper concludes by proposing an ethical framework for design.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Morphology and design: reconciling intellect, intuition, and ethics in the reflective practice of architecture
Event: 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 15th Sep 2005; Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 16th May 2007
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1024
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