Study title
Academizing Architecture: Design as a Research Practice. An international comparison on research in architecture and design research
Ref study 12125
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Architecture
  • Science and technology studies (sts)
  • Design Research
  • Knowledge Cultures
2015 - 2018
Geographical space
UK, USA, Germany
Research in design, its definition and evaluation is being increasingly discussed in architecture. As a core skill of the discipline, design particularly came into focus of research discourses in context of an economization, politicization and harmonization of higher education, described as ‘new governance of science’, and related developments, such as the Bologna Process. This led to an increased research orientation and the trend towards academization within a range of professionally oriented disciplines particularly in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.

Against this background, the significance of the proposed project is to analyze design in architecture at eight leading Western schools in different national and educational contexts. A specific focus will lie on the research of the analysed faculties and how this is reflected in the skills taught. For this analysis, a qualitative ethnographic study, situated at the intersection of sociology of architecture and science and technology studies (STS) will be conducted. It will be based on approaches of laboratory studies (e.g. Latour & Woolgar 1979) and the concept of epistemic cultures (Knorr Cetina 1999). Fieldwork includes participant observation and interviews with teaching faculty, faculty representatives and students at the selected architecture departments. Based on the assumption of an increased research orientation emerging in the field of architecture, the study is based on the following hypothesis:

Research and education in architecture is different from that of traditional research disciplines in the empirical, the ontological and the social dimension of knowledge production. Therefore, establishing distinct architectural research, produces ambivalences and irritations, not only in architecture itself but also in traditional research disciplines.
Methods (description)
Qualitative Research Approach: Ethnography, Qualitative Interviews, Document Analysis
Methods (instruments)
  • Observation
  • Qualitative interviews
  • Analysis of documents
Replicated study No
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 30.08.2017
Date modified 30.08.2017
Start - End date 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2018