Research Methods in Architecture
‘Exploring the library of the ampersand’, will be the topic of this year’s course in Research Methods in Architecture. Although architectural or urban design can be autonomous in formulating its ambitions and decisions, it is never cut off from the real world. Architecture is always about something else as well. Not architecture and all the rest, but architecture & … To specify this ampersand, as an articulated and well targeted relation with a part of the world, is the challenge of this course.
In that sense, the 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.