Improving Precedent-based architectural Design Ideation with Action research Methodology

Document Type : Research Paper


School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Designers frequently use precedents to create new designs. Analyzing similar cases in architecture education is a common technic. Today, the information is easily accessible, and students have access to the wide range of pictures of architecture precedents. The superficial or literal adaptation from precedents is common, and it is one of the challenges of contemporary architecture design. Architecture trainers need to use a method or training to improve the ability of students at the true adaption from cases and teach them to avoid copying or literal and superficial mapping. Some researchers proposed some strategies for this problem. For example; having an incubation time, creating a three-dimensional model of precedents, informing the negative properties of precedent, and using the ideation methods to help ideation ability. Some others focused on the design process and proposed some steps for example abstracting and perception of the cases, transformation for adaption, modifying, adding, or subtracting elements, or transforming the form, connecting to the source and related to it, interpretation, organizing, categorizing, typology, questionable encounter, sketching, conceptual notation, relation and new compilation. Beside these researches, there is yet a lack of practical training for the architecture education that can develop the ability of students at the true adaption from cases and teach them to avoid copying or literal and superficial mapping.
The aim of this research was improving the ability of novice architecture students in the structural adaptation of cases. The main question was how we can improve the ability of students in ideation with the true adaptation from the precedents. There are two sub-questions. What is the suitable training to develop architecture students ideation based on interactive approach? And if this training has impact on improving the factors of true adaptation and creativity of design. To find practical training, we did action research in a semester in a design class of bachelor students of architecture. The number of 45 architecture students participated in the experiment in two groups of experiment and control. Seventeen participants were randomly assigned to the control group and thus did not receive the training instruction. The experimental group was taught the training. At the end of the semester, by an experiment in the form of a design task, the ideation abilities of both groups have been compared.
The results demonstrated that analyzing the architecture cases in different aspects did not improve the ideation ability if students but training to discover the architecture quality of cases, the relations between cases, and the relation between the case and design idea improved the relational thinking ability of students and leads to improving the design ideation. Therefore using such training to improve curiosity and exploratory thinking besides relational thinking training can be proposed as an effective way. At the same time students must be familiar with architecture qualities and values, therefore all architecture education programs can be effective on the design ideation ability of students and not just a specific training or lesson. The results can be used in architecture education and other fields of design education


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