On Paradigms & Avant Garde: Peeking into the Architectural Mind


University of Utah


Published in: Design Methods Vol.30, No.3, pp.2368-2396 (July-Sept 1996)

© copyright 1996 Julio Bermudez. All rights reserved.



It has long been argued that tradition and originality constitute the main tensions driving the architectural mind. A critical review of this proposition reveals its limitations and dangers. A Model that uses the concept of paradigm is proposed as a more comprehensive construct for describing the meta-psychology of architectural design. The forces of convention and innovation are related to those of rationality and imagination and are made relative to paradigms. The general logic, boundary, and functioning of the designer's mind under these paradigms are described, paying close attention to the role of analysis and exemplars. Tradition is shown as the strongest force driving architectural design while avant garde as rare situations when the designer's thinking and doing are beyond the influences of paradigms. The paper concludes with recommendations for architectural education.




We often conceptualize design dynamics as resulting from a dialectic play between tradition and originality. Recognizing the interplay of these two forces as dialectic is a step forward from the old, simplistic oppositional models which presented design as either conformist or creative. This means that all designers are likely to experience the dialectic struggle between convention and innovation during the design process and that architectural products partake of both qualities in varying degrees.

Although this Dialectic Model has been quite successful in helping us to understand the major psychological forces of architectural design, it has two serious flaws.

First, it assumes that there exists some absolute criteria for defining what is 'traditional' or 'innovative'. An example of this error is to consider vernacular design as traditional and the latest design trend (e.g. Deconstructivism) as original or, as we usually say, 'avant garde'. This is misleading because there is neither an acknowledgment of the particular framework of reference used for making that judgment (i.e. values, knowledge, beliefs) nor an awareness that such an 'invisible' framework is only one of many possible frameworks. As a result, the Dialectic Model fails to see that the forces of convention and innovation are dependent on the conceptual framework from which they unfold. In other words, traditional and original are relative terms. For instance, a Deconstructivist design may appear as innovative from a Modern Movement framework but 'traditional' from within a Deconstructivist frame of reference. Hence, while the Dialectic Model is useful in describing design phenomena within a particular framework it is less so when applied beyond those limits. It is misleading because it may cause us to believe that ours is the ultimate framework of reference from which other approaches conform or deviate. This inhibits any significant growth, learning or change as it implies a challenge to our secure world of the known.

The second limitation of the Dialectic Model is its inability to describe inter and trans-framework design dynamics. As an example, does the dialectic between tradition and innovation describe the logic or principles common to different architectural frameworks (e.g. Baroque and Modern)? Does it explain their difference? How does the Dialectic Model help in creating communication linkages between these different frameworks? Unfortunately the Dialectic Model does not explain commonalties or differences in architectural styles, knowledge, experiences and criticisms, nor does it help us communicate with different architectural approaches. Presenting the psychology of design as resulting solely from a dialectic interface between tradition and originality only accounts for intra-framework design phenomena. But we know that the issues of architectural design are broader than this.

These two problems of the Dialectic Model are important enough to suggest the need for a more comprehensive model for describing the psychology of design. This paper will propose a Paradigmatic Model that assumes that the architectural mind works around and through paradigms. The application of the concept of paradigm to architecture is not new . However most of the discussion has been concentrated on bridging the theoretical gap between the philosophy of science [2] and the architectural discipline with little effort having been given to exploring the implications of the concept of paradigm to the psychology of architectural design. My investigation will focus on this latter area and study the boundaries, logic, forces, and types of mental functioning demanded/ allowed by the use of architectural paradigms.



Paradigms And The Architectural Mind

Let us begin by reviewing the basic definitions of tradition and originality used within the Dialectic Model.

'Tradition' involves those activities that accept inherited sets of information, beliefs, and customs and utilize them for organizing patterns of architectural perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and actions. As a result, tradition accommodates, develops and increases existing knowledge during the design process. In contrast, originality implies a totally new, innovative, non-derivative and unpredictable departure from existing conditions. Originality is pure, radical novelty. In this sense, originality is 'avant garde' and implies a deliberate break with the past (i.e. tradition) coupled with a quest for new avenues of expression. Avant garde attempts to start all architectural proposals from scratch because it takes inherited knowledge as alienating and therefore disposable, concentrating rather on methods involving pure creativity and innovation. In other words, originality as avant garde aims at creating totally new knowledge during design dynamics.

Tradition is based on tacit knowledge [3], that is, on information ÔabsorbedÕ " by word of mouth or passed on by example from one generation to another without [requiring] written instruction" [4] . Since this knowledge is largely below the threshold of consciousness, tradition unleashes design structures, contents, and processes with low level of self-consciousness [5]. In contrast, avant garde (radical originality) is 'learned' in a formal, education-based initiation process aimed at undoing previous conditioning while increasing self-consciousness of the structure, contents, and processes through which it unfolds.

It is important to note that the Dialectic Model usually takes originality in its most extreme, radical implications Ñavant gardeÑ and not in a more constrained, progressive interpretation. The reason for this is the need to create clearly defined forces upon which the dialectic process can draw its energy and appeal. The basic argument of the Paradigmatic Model is not to deny the existence or the dialectic between these two essential forces of design Ñalthough there will be some change in their conceptionÑ but rather to demonstrate that their interaction always occurs within defined conceptual limits. In fact, tradition and novelty have no meaning without referring to such limits or frameworks. These frameworks are to be referred to as paradigms.

A paradigm is a conceptual framework or model enfolding principles, techniques, examples, values, and beliefs (heuristics) that allow a complete spectrum of intellectual, emotional, sensorial, and practical possibilities within its scope. A paradigm is a "preferential manner of selection, retention, and organization" of experience in fusion with memory Ñ as background of experience [6] . It is a unit of memory and mode of cognitive functioning learned throughout time and usually inaccessible to direct observation. Paradigms are shared by the members of a community, learned through enculturation, and determine a particular way

In order to work, paradigms require full conceptual, theoretical, instrumental, and methodological commitment from their beholders [7] . This absolute commitment means that the individual works within the boundaries defined by the accepted paradigm and sees anything beyond its limits as wrong, mythical, or irrational. It follows that the use of a paradigm tends to suppress all "fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive" to the paradigm's basic commitments (p.5) [8] . Indeed, the acceptance of one paradigm necessarily implies the rejection of other competing paradigms and therefore the closing of the mind to those other frameworks.

The point is not that the concepts of tradition and originality provided by the Dialectic Model are wrong but rather that they must be referred to the context of a common paradigm. To do so we can restate them as follows. Tradition describes those activities occurring within a paradigm that do not question its validity. Originality (avant garde) guides those activities which stretch the boundaries of a paradigm to its very limit or, better, which step outside its influence altogether. If we now apply the conservative nature of paradigm toward novelty, then we can state a very important premise of the Paradigmatic Model: all architectural paradigms encourage and tend to enforce tradition-driven design dynamics. For avant garde ultimately means to break free from conditioning and convention, and therefore working outside a paradigm. As the human mind must ordinarily (but not always) operates within a framework, a paradigm [9] , actual occurrence of avant garde is very rare indeed.


Figure 1: Conceptual representation of a paradigm.


We now need to define what an architectural paradigm is.

An architectural paradigm is a totalizing view, model, or Ôbelief-systemÕ that organizes and shapes peopleÕs perception and response to architectural issues. An architectural paradigm defines a clear and identifiable way to understand, produce, represent, criticize and use design. As Broadbent [2] argues contemporary and historical architectural styles are manifestations of diverse architectural paradigms (e.g. Modernism, Gothic, Deconstructivism, Baroque). The acceptance of one architectural paradigm (e.g. Postmodernism) over another (e.g. Vernacular) necessarily implies the closing of that other way of "seeing" architecture because it does not match the existing paradigm's expectations and understanding of what, why, and how architecture is or ought to be.

Architects' dependence on paradigms appears certain. For instance, when the accepted paradigm defines the design artifact as, let us say, a purely functional object, designers lend all their energy to producing artifacts that respond to that view. As this functionalist model is the only context where sensations, feelings, ideas, and actions can be carried out logically, no other possibility is considered, or if it is, it is denied value. As a result, the product is an artifact responding only to that paradigm. This is true for architectural production as well as for architectural reception [10] . As the receptive process is guided by a person's past experiences (memory and established cognitive functioning), the reception of an architectural artifact is also framed by an architectural paradigm. Following our previous example, a functionalist paradigm would imply a reception of architecture that will most likely concentrate on functional aesthetics and performance. In short, both production and reception of architecture depend on the design paradigm which one follows.

The distinction between architectural paradigms is not essential but 'only' a difference on the level of operability available through them. In other words, differences between paradigms are based on the degree variations of three functions: knowledge, self-consciousness, and understanding [11] . Knowledge gives the operational boundaries of a paradigm, self-consciousness provides awareness of the design operations occurring within those boundaries, and understanding enables the interconnection of knowledge and self-consciousness, thus bringing criteria and/or critical realization of that paradigm potentialities and shortcomings.

The difference among architectural paradigms relates to how knowledge, self-consciousness and understandings interact synergistically and not to a difference in their structural and procedural nature. This suggests that improving design practice and inter and trans-paradigm communication involves work on three concrete directions: architectural knowledge, self-consciousness and understanding.


Figure 2: Different architectural paradigms should be thought of as working at different levels of knowledge, self-consciousness, and/or understanding. This figure represents P-1 and P-2 as two different architectural paradigms. The farther apart the paradigms are in these three dimensions, the more incommesurable they are.




Pragmatics: How Paradigms Guide Architectural Design

We have said that architectural dynamics occurring within a paradigm do not offer a revolutionary challenge to that paradigm's views, assumptions, and/or applications. Such actions are, in other words, 'traditional'. The issue is now to know how the paradigm 'actually' (i.e. functionally) unfolds. The psychology of the use of tradition in design is revealing.

Tradition in architectural design is based on the use of architectural precedents. This is quite common in ordinary practice. We turn to those architectural artifacts that have successfully solved a similar problem previously, and use them as models or examples of how to solve the current architectural problem. This use of precedents means that we do not usually enter into a reflective or foundational exploration of the nature of the architectural issues at hand. Rather we accept the precedent as proof of architectural success and therefore as already having properly addressed these issues to one degree or another [12] . It is critical to recognize that the most valuable precedents belong to the repertoire of the accepted paradigm (e.g. Deconstructivist architects seek precedents within their architectural paradigm, lay people seek their precedents from the architecture they have experienced, i.e. vernacular, and so on).

In other words, tradition within an architectural paradigm hinges on what Kuhn calls "acknowledged exemplars" or the "concrete problem solutions" that members of a community encounter from the start of their enculturation. Exemplars are culturally accepted ways of proceeding (methodology) and solving (instrumental) ordinary architectural problems. As these problems may vary from the very concrete and plain (e.g. adding a garage to a house) to the more esoteric and abstract (e.g. design studio projects at schools of architecture), exemplars vary a great deal. [13]

Exemplars are constructed, stored, retrieved and used as specific models for approaching architectural issues. For example the Le Ville Savoye, House X, Palladio's Villa Rotonda, Bob's house, the four square vernacular house type, and the Parthenon are all exemplars of different architectural paradigms used by their believers to carry out their thinking and doing of architecture. The use of exemplars is common to all architectural paradigms regardless of their level of functioning and significance.



Figure 3: Notre Dame, Villa Rotonda, Venturi's house, or a special vernacular dwelling are each one an exemplar of a different architectural paradigm.


Exemplars are representative architectural artifacts [14] used as models to guide (design production), or compare to (design consumption). Research and theories addressing the use of memory in design give persuasive support to the validity of this argument. In fact, the concept of exemplar not only accommodates but also helps to extend and relate the work done on scheme theory [15] , cognitive prototypes [16] , memory 'chunk' [17] , and case-based reasoning [18] (hitherto used to describe psychological design dynamics). Furthermore, exemplars find support in contemporary scientific findings surrounding Chaos Theory [19] . Investigations on the behavior of apparently random natural processes (e.g. brain and heart activity, weather patterns, cells nucleation, etc.) indicate the existence of a subtle, hidden order expressed in what has been called 'strange attractors'. An 'attractor' is a center of 'gravity' which organizes the seemingly chaotic behavior of complex systems within their sphere of influence.

The analogy between exemplar and attractor is obvious. Architectural exemplars work like attractors because they offer 'secure' anchors in an infinite psychological space of possible design choices. This permits the designer the adventure of explorations with less risk of getting lost. They provide security with an acceptable degree of flexibility. In other words, exemplars keep architectural thoughts and practice within their area of power and in exchange offer known solutions to more or less known problems [20] .



Exemplars And Heuristics

Architectural paradigm and exemplar are totally interdependent. As much as a paradigm determines the exemplar, the exemplar defines the paradigm. For one acquires ". . . from exemplars the ability to recognize a given situation as like some and unlike others that one has seen before", and therefore " . . . as subject to the application of the same. . . law or law-sketch" [21] . As time passes, the exemplar(s) becomes little by little Ôthe wayÕ to see and understand architecture through the use of analogies and inferences. The exemplar thus builds the paradigm out of its concrete capacity to solve architectural 'puzzles' [22].

It follows that in tradition-driven architectural design the mind does not use elaborate rules abstracted from exemplars (i.e. conscious architectural heuristics) which are then applied in their stead to match events. Rather the mind retrieves, associates, and transforms exemplars until it puts the situation being faced in a perspective that is analogical to other situations so that it can be solved.

It is not that exemplars do not contain heuristics. They do. However architectural heuristics are encoded or enfolded within them. For instance, a given exemplar provides people with a rich imagery for reference (especially visual), the 'correct' type of activities to occur in a building and their ideal relationships Ñpragmatics, the 'intangible' sociocultural factors associated with a physical form such as ambiance and symbolism Ñsemantics, a syntactic order, the role of the context, the materials and technology, even time and costs. In other words, the exemplar has heuristics enfolded in its apparently pure concrete image, but they are not directly accessible to consciousness. In fact, they can only be brought to awareness through inference and other 'painful' processes of abstraction (e.g. analysis) which are rarely done consciously by any save a few experts or "reflective minds" [23] . This is not surprising. Architectural heuristics usually are not consciously involved in the act of design even by professional architects [24] . Rather, images and experiences of good and bad examples are employed most frequently through analogy and inference. It is only on occasions, after the fact, that we investigate the heuristics [25] . For instance a case could be made that Le Corbusier's famous 5 principles (1930) were hardly used as guides for design. Instead the images of his 20s' and 30's villas were what architects used for inspiring their designs. Architects designing a shopping mall will most likely apply the 'images' of exemplars (precedents) available in their repertoire and do not become involved in theoretical reflections on the issue. The influence of image-filled architectural magazines in shaping students and professional views and practice are a well known phenomenon.

In short, architectural exemplars are mentally represented as tacit knowledge: they cannot be explicitly unfolded but can be directly applied through analogy.



Reason and Imagination: The Limits of Paradigms

Work within a paradigm progresses along a continuum between two extreme mental functions: reason and imagination. The closer to reason, the more thinking will be within a paradigm. The closer to imagination, the more thinking will depart from a paradigm. Reason is logical or "domesticated" thinking kept within the boundaries of a paradigm [26] .

Reason implies the existence of rationale, order, logic, and causality underlying our thoughts which can be provided only by a paradigm [27] . As reason strictly follows exemplars for analogical networking (inferences through induction- deduction), it cannot escape the influence of the attracting exemplar. Reason can be seen as the conservative dimension of architectural dynamics and therefore closely tied to tradition.

In contrast, imagination does not dogmatically follow a paradigm's exemplars and therefore may transcend the 'natural' order of time and space and memory through voluntary or involuntary processes (e.g. dreaming). Nevertheless, ordinary imagination seldom escapes the general concepts, categories, and imagery stored in memory and therefore usually falls back within the boundaries of the existing paradigm [28] . Ordinary imagination often gives useful material for elaborating a given paradigm but it rarely breaks away from it. Imagination can be seen as the liberating or exploratory dimension of tradition. Under certain conditions, however, imagination can transcend an architectural paradigm [29] . It is exactly this moving out of a ruling paradigm that defines avant garde.

Whereas reason assures the continuity, order, and consistency of an architectural paradigm, imagination is the source for change, disorder, and transformation. The dialectic 'struggle' between reason and imagination causes a paradigm to evolve through subtle but constant improvement in the templates of its exemplars by accommodating them to particular circumstances [30] . The interface between reason and imagination is what guarantees diversity and surprise within an architectural paradigm. This indicates that although tradition works closer to reason than to imagination, it still allows imagination and change but within the 'institutionalized' boundaries of the existing paradigm. Tradition is conservative by nature and prefers evolution to revolution. Tradition is not consistent with radical originality (avant garde) and therefore resists attempts to move in that direction.


Figure 4: Simple conceptual representation of the psychological space of paradigms as a bi-polar continuum. All architectural paradigms tend to fall close to the Reason pole.


Looking at how we work within a paradigm indicates that the concepts of tradition and originality used by the Dialectic Model may be only applied to describe design dynamics occurring within a particular paradigm, and not inter or trans-paradigm phenomena. But even this use should be careful because one of the poles proposed by the Dialectic Model Ñ originality (as avant garde)Ñ cannot be accommodated with the arguments hitherto shown unless it is softened and regarded as novelty tolerated by the paradigm and therefore occurring within its limits. In other words, radical originality is not a pole in the dialectic play unless first, a conceptual framework is acknowledged, and second avant garde is conceived as a potential force beyond the existing limits of paradigm operability. Believing in avant garde requires accepting the presence of paradigms. The Dialectic Model therefore requires the Paradigmatic Model in order to function properly.



The Role of Analysis

The use of paradigms greatly facilitates architectural work by providing ready made, friendly and effective methods, tools and criteria for dealing with a wide range of architectural problems. However, there is a cost to pay for such convenience.

First is the blindness to a paradigm's conditioning. We cannot see that through which we look. We become unaware of the 'glasses' we wear to interpret reality. We may master the use of the exemplars and techniques of a paradigm but still find it difficult to be self-conscious of how it colors our views, actions, and the heuristics it involves. Second is the rejection of other architectural paradigms. Commitment to a paradigm causes us to close our attention to those things that our paradigm does not consider valuable or right according to its special criteria. A good example is how some architects reject vernacular or any new architectural style because they have judged them to be 'non-professional' or too 'far out' as an approach.

Either through unawareness or rejection, we are faced with the same outcome: the evolution of new architectural knowledge, ideas, methods and tools tends to stop as we reach the boundary of a paradigm. This is such a common phenomenon that it deserves careful consideration and some answer: how can we break through our paradigm conditioning? To put it differently, we need ways to grow, learn, change. But, someone may ask, why do we need to change at all? The response is quite simple: the world has become too rapidly changing, culturally diverse and competitive an environment to afford the luxury of having only one, static, absolute architectural paradigm. If there is something true about our present and especially our future society, that is that individual and organizational success will increasingly depend on flexibility, open-mindedness and continuous learning [31] . Freezing our architectural paradigm would eventually mean the incapacity to deal with the design demands of the world [32] . The point is, however, to know how to make our paradigm evolve. It was suggested earlier that introducing developmental forces into an architectural paradigm means increasing the level of architectural expertise in any or all of three dimensions: knowledge, self-consciousness, and understanding. Putting those forces in motion requires some kind of method. Doing a bit of research and reflection on architectural practice reveals that we have at least one such methodology available to us through analysis. The particular benefit of analysis is that it develops all three dimensions of architectural expertise at once. Let us quickly examine how analysis accomplishes this. First, analysis builds architectural knowledge because it:

Second, analysis is a critical, focused architectural experience and therefore requires full awareness of our observations and actions, hence heightening self-consciousness. As important, analysis produces a realization of the paradigms shaping our observation (the subject's biases) and the object under analysis. The usual lack of awareness and rejection of paradigms can then turn into sensibility of one's own paradigm and openness to other views. In doing so, architectural analysis helps join knowledge with consciousness and therefore raises architectural understanding. As a result, analysis produces the mental awakening necessary to unfold an architectural paradigm, understand it, criticize it, expand it, connect it with others, and finally use it more effectively.

For this reason, the Paradigmatic Model proposes analysis as a major tool for inter and trans-paradigm understanding and communication.




Let us conclude by summarizing and expanding some of the arguments made previously. First, the Paradigmatic Model proposes that tradition is the most common force in design dynamics. Tradition means working within the sphere of influence of an architectural paradigm and uses exemplars and reasoning as its main tools. Originality is seen as being possible but very difficult as it takes immense efforts to escape a given architectural paradigm. Avant garde implies imagination-based, ÔunconditionedÕ states of mind or insightful praxis which cannot be held for a long period of time. Hence avant garde can be expected to be a sporadic burst of architectural insight/action which must be followed by reasoning in order to elaborate what that brief insightful experience produced [15] [41]. So even after engaging in innovative experiences, conventional methods are quickly needed to develop these new architectural ideas. Avant garde thus soon becomes tradition.

It follows therefore that the avant garde is an important myth of our architectural community. The fact that many people perceive our activity as avant garde (Ôcutting edgeÕ fashionable architectural discourse) does not mean that we are actually doing avant garde work. Quite the opposite, most often people work within a paradigm and thus follow a tradition no matter how 'far out' or avant garde it may appear from the perspective of another paradigm. This is not to say that we should give up the search for originality or new architectural insights but rather that we should be honest with ourselves about what we do or do not do, thus achieving a higher level of operability [33] . Eliminating this self-deception is a first move toward understanding and instilling our architectural work with authenticity.

Second, the Paradigmatic Model suggests that evolution in architectural practice should involve (1) the expansion of knowledge (the operational boundary of a paradigm) coupled with (2) an increase in self-consciousness (self-watching/feedback mechanism of the mind operating under the influence of a paradigm). Consciousness and knowledge bring about (3) the development of architectural understanding and insight (meta-cognitive criteria, values, goals) which is manifested in a higher level of professional functioning. This does not mean an essential change in design dynamicsÑstill tradition-drivenÑ but instead an improved level of operability and realization. The study of these three dimensions (knowledge, self-consciousness, and understanding) offers a good direction for theoretical, historical, educational and psychological research in architectural design.

Third, the Paradigmatic Model places whole areas of architectural education in a new light. Subjects such as building systems, history of architecture, and theory of architecture appear to lend themselves to providing students the basic architectural exemplars which they can use in the design process rather than exposing them to unconnected lectures with lists of abstract data and heuristics. Critical discussion of architectural paradigms through the analytical study of exemplars and the internal paradigmatic rationality ought to be of central importance. In addition, the Paradigmatic Model suggests that design studios ought to become the proper environment for the study of tradition as well as avant garde while giving close attention to how paradigms shape students' working and thinking. Methods for shifting design paradigms, practicing architectural reasoning and imagination, and intra and trans-paradigm communication should be presented and made clear to the students. Moreover, technologies for enfolding, unfolding, and creating/transforming architectural heuristics through the design analysis and synthesis of exemplar-attractors should be explored for developing architectural expertise.

Fourth, the Paradigmatic Model helps us to see some mysteries of architectural practice in a new light. For instance, the use of a paradigm allows the carrying out of very complex architectural tasks without requiring explicit theory or formal training, nor total consciousness of architectural heuristics. This is consistent with findings in cognitive psychology and knowledge engineering. Another insight provided by this model is explaining the communication problems between professional and client, student and teacher, and between architects as rooted in difference of paradigms.

In short, the Paradigmatic Model goes well beyond the Dialectic Model by offering another layer of understanding of what occurs during architectural production and reception. This conceptual construct does not deny the role of tradition and originality in shaping design dynamics but rather places them in the context of conceptual frameworks. In so doing the Paradigmatic Model includes and explains the Dialectic Model. Furthermore, the Paradigmatic Model helps us to realize the general logic, boundary and functioning common to all design paradigms. This may ultimately provide the key for opening other doors of architectural practice and insight.




[1] S.Anderson, 'Architectural Design as a System of Research Programmes', Design Studies 5/3 (July 1984): 147-150; G. Broadbent, 'Design and Theory Building', Design Methods & Theories 13/3-4 (1979): 103-107; J. Robinson, 'Architectural Research, Incorporating Myth and Science', JAE 44/1 (Nov.1990): 20-32; D. Schön, 'Problems, Frames and Perspectives on Designing', Design Studies 5/3 (July 1984): 132-136

[2] I. Lakatos, 'Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes', in I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave, eds., Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970) pp. 91-195; (a) T. Kuhn, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1970); (b) T. Kuhn, 'Reflections On My Critics' in I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave, eds., Criticism And The Growth Of Knowledge (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970) pp. 231-278; K. Popper, Conjecture and Refutation: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (London: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1963)

[3] T. Kuhn, Ibid.; M. Berman, The Reenchantment of the World (New York: Bantam Books, 1984); M. Polanyi, Personal Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962)

[4] Webster Ninth New College Dictionary (Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster Inc. Publishers, 1986)

[5] C. Alexander, Notes on the Synthesis of the Form, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1964); A. Rapoport, 'Defining Vernacular Design', in M. Turan, ed., On Vernacular Architecture: A Collection of Essays (1986)

[6] J. Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: Wideview/Perigee Book, 1934) p. 265

[7] T. Kuhn, Ibid.(a)

[8] T. Kuhn, Ibid. (a), p.5

[9] T. Kuhn, Ibid.; Von L.Bertalanffy, General Systems Theory (New York: Brazilier, 1968); J. Ford, Paradigm And Fairy Tales, An Introduction To The Sciences Of Meaning (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975); E. Harrison, Masks of the Universe (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985); J. Piaget, The Principles of Genetic Epistemology (London: Routledge & kegan Paul, 1972)

[10] Architectural reception refers to the use or perception of architectural artifacts

[11] J. Ford, Ibid.; Krishnamurti, La Verdad y la Realidad (Barcelona: EDHASA, 1979); P. Ouspensky, The Fourth Way (New York: Vintage Books, 1977)

[12] Precedents may also be of a negative kind, that is, architectural examples that have failed in solving a giving situation. In these cases, the ÔcounterÕ model also works as a frame of reference (of-what-not-to-do).

[13] Professional architectural design is based on more abstract exemplars than vernacular design. For instance, professionals usually get to know their exemplars more through images (theoretical or historical studies and publications) than through concrete, personal experience. Vernacular is ordinarily the opposite.

[14] The significant artifact does not need to be built. For instance, ÔpaperÕ architecture has always provided influential exemplars.

[15] C. Chan, 'Cognitive Process in Architectural Design Problem Solving', Design Studies 11/2 (April 1990): 60-80; R. Gagné & R. Glaser, 'Foundation in Learning Research', in R.Gagné, ed., Instructional Technology: Foundations (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1987) pp. 49-84; C. Norberg-Schulz, Existence, Space and Architecture (New York: Praegger Publishers, 1971)

[16] A. Rapoport, Ibid.; R. Oxman, 'Prior Knowledge in Design: a Dynamic Knowledge-based Model of Design and Creativity', Design Studies 11/1 (January 1990): 17-28; E. Rosch, 'Principles Of Categorization', in E.Rosch & B.Lloyd, eds., Cognition And Categorization (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 1978)

[17] Ö. Akin, 'Necessary Conditions for Design Expertise and Creativity', Design Studies 11/2 (April 1990): 107-113

[18] R. Barletta, 'An Introduction to Case-Based Reasoning', AI Expert (August 1991): 43-49

[19] J. Gleik, Chaos, Making a New Science (New York: Viking Penguin Inc, 1987)

[20] K. Frank, 'When Type Is Stereotype And What To Do About It', paper presented at the Conference: ÔType and the Possibilities of ConventionsÕ; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (1987); J.M Richards, 'In Defense of the Cliche', The Architectural Review 114/680 (August 1953): 75-77.

[21] T. Khun, Ibid. (a), pp 190-192

[22] This is similar to how we learn our culture. Enculturation seldom occurs through the direct transference of high level heuristics. One learns to see things in a certain way by being shown examples of situations that our elders have learned to interpret, like this and not like that or through the response ours or other peopleÕs actions elicit from that same socio-physical environment. This is in line with Masterman's arguments on the nature of exemplars. See M. Masterman, 'The Nature Of A Paradigm', in I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave, eds., Criticism And The Growth Of Knowledge (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970) pp 59-89

[23] Regardless of their background, most people do not become involved in finding/creating new exemplars, nor in critically reflecting on the existing ones. Rather they use those within their paradigm. It is only the reflective mind that seeks other layers of understanding beyond pragmatic concerns.

[24] C. Abel, 'Function of Tacit Knowing in learning to design', Design Studies .2/4 (October, 1981): 209-214; N. Cross, 'Designerly Ways of Knowing', Design Studies 3/4 (October 1982): 221-227

[25] Knowledge engineers and cognitive psychologists have long known of this problem. Experts (including those in the architectural field) find very difficult if not impossible to consciously articulate the reasoning processes behind their actions and decision making.

[26] J. Ford, Ibid.

[27] This is the greatest benefit of a paradigm: to provide rationality, security, and predictability to our world. Yet the ultimate rationale of a paradigm is based on myth as it requires total ÔirrationalÕ faith in its basic assumptions. For instance: the myth of the Modern paradigm that "architecture is a machine".

[28] D. Bohm, 'Imagination, Fancy, Insight, and Reason in the Process of Thought', in S. Sugerman ed., Evolution Of Consciousness (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1976); S. Sugerman, 'An ÔEssayÕ on Coleridge on Imagination', in S. Sugerman, ed., Evolution Of Consciousness (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1976) pp 191-201

[29] The required conditions for imagination to break away from an existing paradigm are described by, among others, D. Korberg, D & J. Bagnall, The Universal Traveler (Los Altos, CA: Crisp Publications, 1991). T. Richards, 'Designing for Creativity: A State of the Art Review', Design Studies 1/5 (July 1980): 263-271

[30] For instance, the nature of the land, of the program, available materials, constructorÕs understanding of the exemplar, need for self-expression, etc.

[31] C. Handy, The Age of Unreason (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1989); A. Toffler, Power Shift (New York: Bantam Books Inc, 1990); P. Senge, The Fifth Discipline (New York: DoubleDay, 1990)

[32] AIA,Vision 2000: The Challenge of Change (Washington DC: The AIA Press, 1988). See also, Vision 2000: The Implication of Change (Washington DC: The AIA Press, 1988); J. Thomas & J. Carroll, 'The Psychological Study of Design', Design Studies 1/1, (July 1979): 5-11

[33] Tradition assumes that the existing exemplars are successful because they have proven their value in the past. This has been true for most of human history. Unfortunately we are now living in quite a different world where growing diversity and fast changes in cultural and technological patterns imply to a large extent the unsuitability of many, even recent, architectural precedents. Avant garde (originality) is therefore a good resource for dealing with this situation. However misunderstanding of what avant garde can actually accomplish and unawareness of the required conditions in which it can arise are a disservice to ourselves and our clients.


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