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Morphology and Design: Reconciling intellect, intuition, and ethics in the reflective practice of architecture

Proceedings . 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium Atlanta

Author: Hanson, J.
Year: 2001
Type: Conference Paper


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

Further Details

Publish Location Atlanta
Accession Number November, 2010
Keywords Design

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