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Fall 2021
Research Methods in Architecture

Walter Benjamin, coloured symbols for cross-referencing Passagen / Baudelaire © Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur

In an interview with Pier Vittorio Aureli about architectural education, Peter Eisenman once explained his vision on architectural education in the following way : ‘The idea was that architecture was taught as a way of educating – not to learn about architecture, but as a means to understand society. So when you had 7,000 students at the University of Venice, they were not all going to be architects, but they were using architecture, as previous generations used the law, as a way of understanding society.’ (Log, 28 (2013), 68)
This course on research methods in architecture does not aim to help students in becoming ‘research specialists’ in architecture, but it offers them tools to orientate their design practice towards a more reflective practice that contributes to a better understanding of society. This reflective practice represents a model of science that copes with the growing tension between 'rigor and relevance'. Science is not merely a matter of methodology, but also presupposes a continuous critical questioning of the relevance of the research undertaken. That procedure, that reflective practice, requires mobility between experience, insight and knowledge through processes in which different forms of expertise (technical rationality, experience-based expertise, design-based research, analysis, criticism) intertwine. Reflective practice is an implicit plea for an experimental science that does not answer uncertainty with false certainties, but with the focused exploration of possibilities.

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