Depth of Shadow: Research and design

  • YEAR
    Southcombe, Mark
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: Changes in technology and the Australasian Masters in Architecture Professional degree
structures have changed the way design is taught in our architecture schools. There is increasing
emphasis on research that goes with the territory of a higher degree and is evident in recent course
structures and design teaching practices. There is a lack of clear demarcation of what differentiates
design and research by design outcomes that can create an academic void where design and research
may be confused and conflated. This paper teases out implications of emphasis on research by design
for the teaching of design.

The Depth of Shadow project is considered as a case study demonstrating research through the
medium of design in action. Characteristics, strengths and problems associated with research
undertaken through design as methodology are identified and considered. Advantages and limitations of
design understood as research medium are identified and documented. Clear definition of how design
may be applied as research method occurs. Criteria for assessment of design as research method are
identified as being required to avoid confusing operative design research and findings from procedural
design processes and outcomes. A design research matrix is proposed as an academic tool to aid
assessment of research through the medium of design and the quality of design research outcomes.


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