Architectural Design: An Intellectual Culture between Art and Science

By Benyamin Schwarz.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

What is architectural design? What is knowledge? What is research-based knowledge and why, according to some scholars, should architecture become a science-based profession? Why should “design become the application of research based knowledge” and why it should not be based on “designer’s personal preferences, intuition, and the like”? These fundamental questions will serve as a point of departure for the discussion in this presentation. Throughout this presentation I will argue that scientific research and architectural design are two very different human undertakings. I will explore the nature of research and architectural design through the discussion of the study of knowledge, the differences between tacit and explicit knowledge, and the distinct nature of architectural theory. The point I want to make is that architecture is in need of a theoretical foundation. The need for architectural theory arises from the necessity to devise principles to guide and inform us on how to build. The essence of architectural theorizing is situated in the dynamics between the actual and the possible. Therefore, we should not turn design into an imitation of science; neither into indescribable art. Design should be recognized as a distinct intellectual culture that is situated between art and science.

Keywords: Architectural Design, Art and Science, Knowledge, Architectural Theory, Tacit Knowledge and Explicit Knowledge

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.245-256. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.225MB).

Dr. Benyamin Schwarz

Professor of Architectural Studies, Department of Architectural Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Benyamin Schwarz, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Architectural Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His teaching specialty areas include design fundamentals, environmental analysis, housing concepts and issues, design studio, architectural programming, and environmental design for aging. He received his bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Technion, the Institute of Technology of Israel, and his Ph.D. in Architecture from The University of Michigan with an emphasis on Environmental Gerontology. He designed numerous buildings as well as facilities for the elderly in Israel and in the U.S. His research addresses issues of long-term care settings in the United States and abroad, environmental attributes of dementia special care units, assisted living arrangements, and international housing concepts and issues. Dr. Schwarz has been the editor of the Journal of Housing for the Elderly since 2000. He is the author of Nursing Home Design: Consequences of Employing the Medical Model. His co-edited books with Leon A. Pastalan, include University-Linked Retirement Communities: Student Visions of Eldercare and Housing choices and well-being of older adults: Proper Fit. He co-edited with Ruth Brent the books, Popular American Housing: A Reference Guide and Aging Autonomy and Architecture: Advances in Assisted-Living. Dr. Schwarz co-edited with Susan Rodiek Outdoor Environments for People with Dementia and The Role of the Outdoors in Residential Environments for Aging. His other publications include Assisted living: Sobering Realties and numerous articles in various academic and professional venues.


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