Live Projects as Research: Tools of Practice Research in Making Architecture

Mitchell, Maurice and Tang, Bo (2015) Live Projects as Research: Tools of Practice Research in Making Architecture. In: Creative Practice Conference 2015: Making Research Researching Making, 10-12 September 2015, Arkitektskolen Aarhus, Denmark.


Hands-off or hands-on? Do architects ‘design’ buildings or do they ‘make’ them? This paper addresses the role of the architect as a maker, someone who has a foot in many camps in order to bring together and realise an intention in response to a setting. In a field where professional practice tends to take precedence over research, what is architectural research? How do we define it? Using examples from live projects carried out by students and researchers, this paper explores the different roles and tools adopted in three specific concrete settings: Navi Mumbai, Freetown and Agra. Mainstream architectural design works in a hands-off way. However architectural making is definitely hands-on. To the extent that architecture is about making rather than planning, a hands-off approach is untenable. It is impossible to produce good architecture without being involved with the setting because making is a creative act using the resources, both physical and cultural, available within that setting. In the practice of architectural making, researchers need to develop a discourse around a topic and take action, after due deliberation, in an ethical way. Research is a part of this process. This paper identifies the varied roles architects have played in each of the three live projects and explores the implications for the architecture profession and in academia.

ADAPT-r Conference 'Making Research' Proceedings 2015 MMitchell BTang.pdf - Published Version

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