Wicked deliberations: research and design studios

  • YEAR
    Missingham, Greg
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Design Education and Design Research


The paper discusses a graduate architectural design studio emphasizing designing as a research practice. Students chose their own Wicked Problems. They were initially supposed to employ their usual design approach, one suggested by the problem and one “at right angles” to those, then to determine a preferred approach, chosen or hybrid. Finally, they were to present argued recommendations in report form to a hypothetical committee interested in those recommendations and any rejected experiments. Thereafter a summary of relations between projects and theory in PhD design research, studio problems, projects and research methods from the three years’ running of the studio are discussed. Projects were developed for eleven countries, on urban, suburban, rural and remote sites. Apart from numerous design approaches and conventional research techniques (demographics, observations, interviews), research methods included versions of linear programming, animal suits, www avatars, role-playing games, storybooks, ethnographic investigations and various sensory and physical disablings. Outcomes included everything from scattered installations, more or less conventional buildings to train carriages, publicity campaigns and complex precedent networks. The paper concludes with evaluating the successes and shortcomings of the studio based on examination of the assessment rubric developed with students, commenting on design research, and noting an irony.


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