Beginning again. The task of design research

  • David Leatherbarrow University of Pennsylvania School of Design


Among architects and educators today the proposal for design research is generally understood as follows: the design of buildings is not only a professional practice but also a form of inquiry, a member of the growing family of research disciplines at work in the world today.
The older siblings are well known, the highly regarded research fields in the natural sciences: physics, chemistry, and biology, for example. In the next generation are the social sciences: economics, political science, and sociology. Also related are the fields in which the basic sciences are applied: medicine, engineering, and information technology. This last group is more akin to architecture, for these academic disciplines are also professions. The problem with architecture is that it has also family ties to disciplines beyond the sciences, to painting, sculpture, urban design, and landscape architecture, even literature and poetry. Furthermore, artistic practices are not only non-scientific, they are purposeless, or so they seem, for we tend to see beauty as its own reward; we call it aesthetic pleasure. But these categories — natural science, social science, the arts — together with the terms that designate them are no less subject to debate than the words “design” and “research” with which we began.

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LEATHERBARROW, David. Beginning again. The task of design research. Joelho. Revista de Cultura Arquitectónica, [S.l.], n. 4, out. 2013. ISSN 1647-8681. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 21 abr. 2018.
Keynote Joelho 4


Design Research