MOUSTAFA ADLI BAGHDADI, University of Pennsylvania


Design methodology has become a central part of architectural theory. There is much confusion about design decision models and their relevance to the contemporary world-view. The debates in the design methods literature in the last three decades show the diversity of and contradictions in these models. This dissertation demonstrates that the change in the models between 1950s and 1980s parallels the shift from a Mechanismic to Systemic World-view. A Design model is not an "independent variable." It is an open system embedded in society. It is powerfully influenced by its external environment, and in a general way, its development and change are shaped by cultural acceptability to its dominant world-view. There are three basic models of design decision in the literature: the intuitive, the rational, and the participatory. The intuitive and the rational reflect the beliefs and the method of the Mechanismic World-view; the participatory model reflects those of the Systemic one. The participatory model includes three complementary models: an ethical, a cognitive, and an ecological. A content analysis of a systematic sample of articles from the four major journals on design methodology (The Architect's Journal, The Journal of Architectural Research, both published in Great Britain; and The Journal of the Design Method Group, and The Journal of Architectural Education, both published in the United States) shows a clear change in key concepts used to describe the design decision models during the period under study. This change reflects the broader change in world-views. For example, concepts such as "reductionism," "determinism," "certainty," and "analysis" appear frequently in the description of the rational and the intuitive models while after the 1970s the concepts of "expansionism," "probability," "complementarity," and "synthesis," for example, describe the participatory models. These key concepts reflect a shift from the beliefs and the methods of the Mechanismic to the Systemic World-view in the body of literature on the history and philosophy of science. It is the world-view that provides the paradigm confining people's thoughts and produces their models of design decision. An understanding of the change in world-views in terms of beliefs and methods clarifies the shift in thinking and guides future research about what design decision models should be. Furthermore it clarifies why and how design models should change according to the change in the broader concept of world-view.

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Recommended Citation

BAGHDADI, MOUSTAFA ADLI, "WORLD-VIEWS AND THE DESIGN DECISION LITERATURE 1950S-1980S (METHODS, MODELS)" (1984). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8505032.