Akademisk Fagprosa - Rum


Akademisk Fagprosa - Rum

When Architects write, draw, build? a PhD‐ Symposium, Nordic Association of Architectural Research, 2011

objects. The findings of the analyses, expressed with the model as media, are intended to be

intelligible to the architects as an appropriate audience that lack appropriate tools to bridge the

apparently increasing gap between how architecture is conceived and how it is or actually can be

produced. An assumption is that the model as a simplified (or focussed) visual tool provides an

intermediary link between the more abstract architectural concepts and the specific physical

deliveries with different levels of standardisation, integrations and industrialisation.

Research starts as guesswork

The argumentation above tries to follow an external line of reasoning in order to discuss the

research dimension of the applied approach. Archer’s point is that there is ‘more than one way of

defining research’. This is expressed through availability of several traditions (Archer 1995:6).

Referring to Popper 19 he states that a modern approach to scientific research acknowledges ‘that

new scientific propositions may properly be, and mostly are, the result of inspired guesswork rather

than the product of inductive reasoning’ (Ibid) This points towards Peirce’s abductive reasoning

that ‘suggests a theory’ which is subsequently tested and refined through successive approximation

by inferring from an intuitive synthetic guess to a satisfactory explanation. Archer summarises the

modern philosophy of creating new knowledge like this:

1) be liberal about the sources of conjecture and hypothesis at the commencement of research

2) be sceptical in the handling of data and argument during research and

3) be astringent in testing findings and explanations on the completion of research (Archer 1995:7)

This has obvious parallels to Kirkeby’s Peirce-interpretation of the ideal sequence for producing

new and validated knowledge (abduction – deduction – induction).

Validation and reliability

Archer’s specific objective is to distinguish explicit scientific knowledge from the tacit knowledge

produced through artistic practice itself. In most cases artistic practice cannot be characterised as 'a

systematic enquiry whose goal is communicable knowledge'. Practice is not research just because it

produces new knowledge. Although convergence between practitioner activity and research

activity (research trough practice) is possible through what he terms as ‘action research’ (ibid:12)

he equally distinguishes two other relationships between object and research method in the arts:

research about practice and research for the purpose of practice. The former is far the most

widespread and often draws on well established research traditions in order to validate research

findings. 20 The current project however classify rather as the latter type, research for the purpose

of practice, which is different concerning the validation of scientific knowledge. 21 However, if

knowledge is exclusively produced for the purpose of a practitioner activity the question of

validation is less pressing – and can in some cases even become redundant. As Archer writes:

In the case of research for the purposes of a practitioner activity, however,

there may be circumstances where it does not matter whether the research

was well done or badly done, or whether the research results turned out to

be true or false, or whether the findings were situation-specific or

generalisable. It may be sufficient to demonstrate that the practitioner

outcome itself is satisfactory. (Archer 1995:12)

19 Karl Popper was a famous Austrian-British philosopher of science

20 Examples are art or design history within humanities or art and society studies within the tradition of social sciences

(Archer 1995)

21 Archer however states that: ‘Where an investigation for the purposes of contributing to a practitioner activity is

conducted according to the principles of its field, and is indeed a systematic enquiry whose goal is communicable

knowledge, then the investigation can properly be called research’ (ibid:12)


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