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Thursday, 13 June 2013 20:58

Design Methods in Architecture

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Following on from my work with Christopherv Alexander and Barry Poyner in 1996 I taught part-time for a while at the Kingston Polytechnic School of Architecture under the headship of Dennis Berry. I taught Relational Theory (as it was then called) until, in 1967, I was offered a position at the Portsmouth Polytechic under Geoffrey Broadbent as a Research Fellow in Design Methods. There were three Research Fellowships. The other two were take up by Malcolm Carder (now the notable artist and illustrator Malcolm Godwin) and Laurie Fricker, a landscape architect and friend of Buckminster Fuller. Portsmouth was an exciting place to be. It was the 1960s, we were an hour away from London and the School of Architecture under Broadbent was out to make a name for uitself as a centre of excellence in design theorising - and design methods stood at the very heart of that vision. My main contribution was the organisation and presentation of the First International Symposium Design Methods in Architecture. The Symposium took place on the now defunct South Parade Pier in Southsea and attraqcted a cast of academics that reads lijke a Who's Who in design theorising. Geoffrey Broadbent himself, Amos Rapoport, Bruce Archer, Janet Daley, Chris Jones and Jane Abercrombie. The Symposium predated and foreshadowed the 1968 Design Methods Group Conference at MIT, which was co-hosted by Berkeley and Harvard, and at which the Environmental design research Association was established. So the Portsmouth Symposium played a major role in design theoirising throughout the 1970s and up to the present. The proceedings of the symposium, which I edited, were published in English by Wittenborne in London and New York, and in Spanish by Gili of Madrid. A synopsis of the Symposium was published in the Architects Journal by Geoffrey Broadbent. A PDF pf that paper can be downloaded here.

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