Architecture and second order science

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Since around 1980, Ranulph Glanville has put forward the idea that rather than seeing research in design as one form of science, we instead see scientific research as a specific form of design. This argument, based on the way that scientific research inevitably involves design activity but not vice versa, and others like it around that time consolidate a shift during the 1970s in thinking about design, from a concern with the scientific method to the idea that design has its own epistemological foundations as a discipline. The attempt to base design on a linear version of the scientific method failed for reasons that have been pointed out by Horst Rittel amongst others: because design involves the creation of the new, design questions cannot be exhaustively formulated in advance. This has marked something of a parting of the ways between design and science as being incompatible in terms of method. Given Glanville’s argument this is not what we might expect: if science is a limited form of design, shouldn’t scientific approaches be commensurable with design even if they are not a basis for it? This apparent disjunction is only the case if we follow the changes in how design was thought about during this period without also following the comparable changes regarding science. Both broadly parallel each other, moving from a concern with method in the 1960s through a critique of this in the 1970s to new foundations from the 1980s onwards, focusing on what designers and scientists actually do in practice. Indeed the key critiques of method advanced by Feyerabend and Rittel, in science and design respectively, have similar structures and, so, what seems at first sight to be a rupture can also be read as a parallel journey. Using this account as a basis, and in the light of recent discussions regarding the idea of second order science, I suggest that we can understand contemporary design research as one example of second order research practice, as is indicated by its continuity with cybernetics. More speculatively, and with reference to the Fun Palace project of Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price, to which Gordon Pask also contributed, I suggest that architecture can itself sometimes be thought of as facilitating such a reflective and participatory enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Place of PublicationOnline
Pages1-6
Number of pages6
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
EventProceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences - Berlin, Germany, 2015
Duration: 1 Jan 2015 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

Conference

ConferenceProceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Period1/01/15 → …

Fingerprint

1970s
Scientific Method
Rupture
Fun
Reflective
Cedric Price
1980s
Epistemological
Journey
Palace
Practice as Research
Designer
1960s
Continuity
Cybernetics

Bibliographical note

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Keywords

  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Cybernetics
  • Second Order Science

Cite this

Sweeting, B. (2015). Architecture and second order science. In Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (Vol. 1, pp. 1-6). (Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences). Online.
Sweeting, Ben. / Architecture and second order science. Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Vol. 1 Online, 2015. pp. 1-6 (Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences).
@inproceedings{f23fe08e917c40df8190478c053ccd99,
title = "Architecture and second order science",
abstract = "Since around 1980, Ranulph Glanville has put forward the idea that rather than seeing research in design as one form of science, we instead see scientific research as a specific form of design. This argument, based on the way that scientific research inevitably involves design activity but not vice versa, and others like it around that time consolidate a shift during the 1970s in thinking about design, from a concern with the scientific method to the idea that design has its own epistemological foundations as a discipline. The attempt to base design on a linear version of the scientific method failed for reasons that have been pointed out by Horst Rittel amongst others: because design involves the creation of the new, design questions cannot be exhaustively formulated in advance. This has marked something of a parting of the ways between design and science as being incompatible in terms of method. Given Glanville’s argument this is not what we might expect: if science is a limited form of design, shouldn’t scientific approaches be commensurable with design even if they are not a basis for it? This apparent disjunction is only the case if we follow the changes in how design was thought about during this period without also following the comparable changes regarding science. Both broadly parallel each other, moving from a concern with method in the 1960s through a critique of this in the 1970s to new foundations from the 1980s onwards, focusing on what designers and scientists actually do in practice. Indeed the key critiques of method advanced by Feyerabend and Rittel, in science and design respectively, have similar structures and, so, what seems at first sight to be a rupture can also be read as a parallel journey. Using this account as a basis, and in the light of recent discussions regarding the idea of second order science, I suggest that we can understand contemporary design research as one example of second order research practice, as is indicated by its continuity with cybernetics. More speculatively, and with reference to the Fun Palace project of Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price, to which Gordon Pask also contributed, I suggest that architecture can itself sometimes be thought of as facilitating such a reflective and participatory enquiry.",
keywords = "Architecture, Design, Cybernetics, Second Order Science",
author = "Ben Sweeting",
note = "Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.",
year = "2015",
month = "1",
day = "1",
language = "English",
volume = "1",
series = "Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences",
pages = "1--6",
booktitle = "Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences",

}

Sweeting, B 2015, Architecture and second order science. in Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. vol. 1, Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Online, pp. 1-6, Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, 1/01/15.

Architecture and second order science. / Sweeting, Ben.

Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Vol. 1 Online, 2015. p. 1-6 (Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

TY - GEN

T1 - Architecture and second order science

AU - Sweeting, Ben

N1 - Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

PY - 2015/1/1

Y1 - 2015/1/1

N2 - Since around 1980, Ranulph Glanville has put forward the idea that rather than seeing research in design as one form of science, we instead see scientific research as a specific form of design. This argument, based on the way that scientific research inevitably involves design activity but not vice versa, and others like it around that time consolidate a shift during the 1970s in thinking about design, from a concern with the scientific method to the idea that design has its own epistemological foundations as a discipline. The attempt to base design on a linear version of the scientific method failed for reasons that have been pointed out by Horst Rittel amongst others: because design involves the creation of the new, design questions cannot be exhaustively formulated in advance. This has marked something of a parting of the ways between design and science as being incompatible in terms of method. Given Glanville’s argument this is not what we might expect: if science is a limited form of design, shouldn’t scientific approaches be commensurable with design even if they are not a basis for it? This apparent disjunction is only the case if we follow the changes in how design was thought about during this period without also following the comparable changes regarding science. Both broadly parallel each other, moving from a concern with method in the 1960s through a critique of this in the 1970s to new foundations from the 1980s onwards, focusing on what designers and scientists actually do in practice. Indeed the key critiques of method advanced by Feyerabend and Rittel, in science and design respectively, have similar structures and, so, what seems at first sight to be a rupture can also be read as a parallel journey. Using this account as a basis, and in the light of recent discussions regarding the idea of second order science, I suggest that we can understand contemporary design research as one example of second order research practice, as is indicated by its continuity with cybernetics. More speculatively, and with reference to the Fun Palace project of Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price, to which Gordon Pask also contributed, I suggest that architecture can itself sometimes be thought of as facilitating such a reflective and participatory enquiry.

AB - Since around 1980, Ranulph Glanville has put forward the idea that rather than seeing research in design as one form of science, we instead see scientific research as a specific form of design. This argument, based on the way that scientific research inevitably involves design activity but not vice versa, and others like it around that time consolidate a shift during the 1970s in thinking about design, from a concern with the scientific method to the idea that design has its own epistemological foundations as a discipline. The attempt to base design on a linear version of the scientific method failed for reasons that have been pointed out by Horst Rittel amongst others: because design involves the creation of the new, design questions cannot be exhaustively formulated in advance. This has marked something of a parting of the ways between design and science as being incompatible in terms of method. Given Glanville’s argument this is not what we might expect: if science is a limited form of design, shouldn’t scientific approaches be commensurable with design even if they are not a basis for it? This apparent disjunction is only the case if we follow the changes in how design was thought about during this period without also following the comparable changes regarding science. Both broadly parallel each other, moving from a concern with method in the 1960s through a critique of this in the 1970s to new foundations from the 1980s onwards, focusing on what designers and scientists actually do in practice. Indeed the key critiques of method advanced by Feyerabend and Rittel, in science and design respectively, have similar structures and, so, what seems at first sight to be a rupture can also be read as a parallel journey. Using this account as a basis, and in the light of recent discussions regarding the idea of second order science, I suggest that we can understand contemporary design research as one example of second order research practice, as is indicated by its continuity with cybernetics. More speculatively, and with reference to the Fun Palace project of Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price, to which Gordon Pask also contributed, I suggest that architecture can itself sometimes be thought of as facilitating such a reflective and participatory enquiry.

KW - Architecture

KW - Design

KW - Cybernetics

KW - Second Order Science

M3 - Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

VL - 1

T3 - Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

SP - 1

EP - 6

BT - Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

CY - Online

ER -

Sweeting B. Architecture and second order science. In Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Vol. 1. Online. 2015. p. 1-6. (Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences).