Document Type : Invited editorial articles


Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom


The purpose of this invited editorial article is to contribute an inclusive insight into some of key aspects of arts-based research and methodological approaches in architectural and spatial design research. Following ontological and epistemological interpretations, the article is conceptual and involves critical analysis which is based on reviewing and categorizing classical literature while highlighting substantial number of contributions in relevant research developed over the past five decades. Premised on three philosophical positions—positivism, anti-positivism, and emancipationist— a discussion on arts-based research as a form of qualitative inquiry and the associated trilogy of art, craft, and knowledge making was instigated. Six frames of reference were identified: systematic, computational, managerial, psychological, person-environment type-a and person-environment type-b. Technically oriented research (TOR) and conceptually driven research (CDR) were categorized as perspectives of inquiry and were scrutinized together with their developmental aspects. Whilst the article is a brief reflection on some of the key contributions in this edition of JAARS, it captures an understanding of arts-based research, architectural and spatial design research, and their essential qualities. and can be viewed as an enabling mechanism by which researchers can identify the unique particularities of their research and the way in which it is pursued.


Main Subjects

Akin O. (1986). Psychology of architectural design, London: Pion.
Akin, O. (1987). Expertise of the architect, Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University.
Altman, I. and Chemers, M. (1980). Culture and environment, 1st ed. Monterey, CA: Brooks/​Cole Pub. Co.
Anumba, C.J. (2005). Knowledge management in construction, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Awan, N., Schneider, T. and Till, J. (2011). Spatial agency: other ways of doing architecture, London: Routledge.
Blundell-Jones, P., Petrescu, D. and Till, J. eds. (2005). Architecture and participation, London: Taylor & Francis.
Bordass, B. (2001). Flying Blind – everything you wanted to know about energy in commercial buildings but were afraid to ask, London: Association for the Conservation of Energy.
Bordass, B. and Leaman, A. (2014). Building performance evaluation in the UK: so many false dawns. In: W.F.E. Preiser, A. T. Davis, A. M. Salama, and A. Hardy, eds., Architecture beyond criticism: expert judgment and performance evaluation, London: Routledge, pp.160–170.
Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.
Brown, J.B., Harriss, H. and Morrow, R. (2016). A gendered profession: the question of representation in space making, London: RIBA Publishing.
Cahnmann-Taylor, M. (2008). Arts-based research: histories and new directions, in M. Cahnmann-Taylor and R. Siegesmund (Eds), Arts-based research in education foundations for practice, New York, NY: Routledge.
Canter, D.V. (1974). Psychology for architects, London: Applied Science.
Canter, D.V. (1977). The psychology of place, New York, NY: St. Martins Press.
Casakin, H. and Kreitler, S. (2011). The cognitive profile of creativity in design, Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(3), pp.159–168.
Cooper, R. (2010). Wayfinding for health care: best practices for today’s facilities, Chicago, IL: AHA Press/Health Forum.
Cross, N. (2016), Design thinking: understanding how designers think and work, London: Bloomsbury.
Cross, N. ed., (1984), Developments in design methodology, Chichester: Wiley.
Cuff, D. (1991). Architecture: the story of practice, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Darbellay, F., Moody, Z. and Lubart, T. (2018). Creativity, design thinking and interdisciplinarity, Singapore: Springer.
de Dear, R., Kim, J. and Parkinson, T. (2018). Residential adaptive comfort in a humid subtropical climate—Sydney Australia, Energy and Buildings, 158, pp.1296–1305.
Denzin, N. K & Lincoln, Y.S.  (eds.) (2011). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. eds. (2000). Handbook of qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Duffy, F. (2014). Buildings and their use: the dog that didn't bark. In: W.F.E. Preiser, A. T. Davis, A. M. Salama, and A. Hardy, eds., Architecture beyond criticism: expert judgment and performance evaluation. London: Routledge, pp.128–132.
Dye, A. ed., (2014). How architects use research – case studies from practice, London: RIBA.
Emmitt, S., Prins, M. and Otter, A. eds., (2009). Architectural management: international research and practice, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Fisher, T. (2010). Ethics for architects: 50 dilemmas of professional practice, Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
Fisher, T.R. (2006). In the scheme of things: alternative thinking on the practice of architecture. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Franz, J. M. (2010). Arts-based research for teachers, researchers and supervisors.
Franz, J.M. (1994). A critical framework for methodological research in architecture, Design Studies, 15(4), pp.433–447.
Gero, J.S. (1983). Computer-aided architectural design—past, present and future, Architectural Science Review, 26(1), pp.2–5.
Gero, J.S. and Maher, M.L. (1993). Modeling creativity and knowledge-based creative design, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawernce Erlbaum.
Goldschmidt, G. (1989). Problem representation versus domain of solution in architectural design education, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Special Issue: Architectural Education for Architectural Practice, 6(3), pp. 204-215.
Goldschmidt, G. (2014). Linkography: unfolding the design process, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Goulding, J.S. and Rahimian, F.P. (2015). Design creativity: future directions for integrated visualisation, Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 9(3), pp.1–5.
Groat, L. and Wang, D. (2002). Architectural research methods, New York, NY: John Wiley.
Gutman, R. (1975). The place of architecture in sociology, Princeton, NJ: Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Princeton University.
Gutman, R. (1988). Architectural practice: a critical view, Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
Hamdi, N. (1990). Housing without houses: participation, flexibility, enablement, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Hamilton, D.K. and Watkins, D.H. (2009). Evidence-based design for multiple building types, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Heath, T. (1984). Method in architecture, Chichester: Wiley.
Hensel, M.U. (2010). Performance-oriented architecture: towards a biological paradigm for architectural design and the built environment, FORMakademisk, 3(1), pp.36–56.
Hershberger, R.G. (1999). Architectural programming and predesign manager, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hester, R.T. (1990). Community design primer, Mendocino, CA: Ridge Times Press.
Hillier, B. (2015). Space is the machine: a configurational theory of architecture, London: CreateSpace--Independent Publishing Platform.
Hillier, B. and Hanson, J. (1984). The social logic of space, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
IAPS (2018), Transitions to sustainability, lifestyles changes, and human wellbeing: proceedings of the 25th IAPS Conference, Rome, Italy: IAPS.
Jenkins, P. and Forsyth, L. (2009). Architecture, participation and society, London: Routledge.
Kelly, George (1991) [1955]. The psychology of personal constructs. London; New York: Routledge in association with the Centre for Personal Construct Psychology.
Kumar, B. (2018), Contemporary strategies and approaches in 3-D information modelling, Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Lawrence, R. (1987). Housing, dwellings and homes: design theory, research and practice, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Lawson, B. (1980). How designers think: the design process demystified, London: Architectural Press.
Lincoln, Y.S., Lynham, S.A. and Guba, E.G. (2011). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences, revisited. In: N. K. Denzin, and Yvonna S. Lincoln, eds., The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp.97–128.
Mallory-Hill, S., Preiser, W.F.E. and Watson, C. eds., (2012). Enhancing building performance, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Malone, L. (2018). Desire lines: a guide to community participation in designing places, London: RIBA Publishing.
Markus, T.A. (1972). Building performance, New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Maver, T. (1971). Computer Aided Design appraisal. Architects Journal, pp.207–214.
Mitchell, W.J. (1979). Computer-Aided Architectural Design, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Mitchell, W.J. (1990). The logic of architecture: design, computation, and cognition, Cambridge, MA: The MIT press.
Nasar, J.L. (1988). Environmental aesthetics: theory, research, applications. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Newell, A. and Simon, H.A. (1972). Human problem solving, Englewood Cliffs , NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Nilsson, F., Dunin-Woyseth, H., and Janssens, N. eds. (2017). Perspectives on research assessment in architecture, music, and the arts – Discussing Doctorateness. London: Routledge.
Norton, P. and Hughes, M. (2018). Public consultation and community involvement in planning a twenty-first century guide, London: Routledge.
OED (2012). Oxford English dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Oxman, R. (2017). Thinking difference: theories and models of parametric design thinking, Design Studies, 52, pp.4–39.
Passini, R. (1992). Wayfinding in architecture, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Preiser, W.F.E. and Nasar, J.L. (2008). Assessing building performance: its evolution from post-occupancy evaluation, Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 2(1), pp.84–99.
Preiser, W.F.E. and Vischer, J. eds., (2012). Assessing building performance, New York, NY: Routledge.
Preiser, W.F.E. ed., (1985). Programming the built environment, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Preiser, W.F.E., Davis, A.T., Salama, A.M. and Hardy, A. eds., (2014). Architecture beyond criticism: expert judgment and performance evaluation, London: Routledge.
Preiser, W.F.E., Rabinowitz, H.Z. and White, E.T. (1988). Post-occupancy evaluation, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Proshansky, H.M. (1990). The pursuit of understanding. In: I. Altman and K. Christensen, eds., Environment and Behavior Studies: emergence of intellectual traditions, New York, NY: Plenum Press, pp.9–30.
Rapoport, A. (1969). House form and culture, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Rapoport, A. (1977). Human aspects of urban form: towards a man-environment approach to urban form and design, Toronto: Pergamon Press.
Rapoport, A. (1990). The meaning of the built environment: a nonverbal communication approach, Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.
Rapoport, A. (2005). Culture, architecture, and design, Chicago, IL: Locke Science Publishing.
Rapoport, A. (2008). Some further thoughts on culture and environment, Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 2(1), pp.16–39.
Rittel, H.W.J. and Webber, M.M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning, Policy Sciences, 4(2), pp.155–169.
Roaf, S., Brotas, L., and Nicol, F., eds. (2017). PLEA 2017 legacy document of 33rd PLEA international conference -- Design to Thrive, Edinburgh: PLEA-2017.
Rowe, P.G. (1987). Design thinking, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Sacks, R., Eastman, C.M., Lee, G. and Teicholz, P.M. (2018). BIM handbook: a guide to building information modeling for owners, designers, engineers, contractors, and facility managers, Hoboken, NY: Wiley.
Salama, A.M. (2015). Spatial design education: new directions for pedagogy in architecture and beyond, London: Routledge.
Salama, A.M. (2019). Methodological research in architecture and allied disciplines: Philosophical positions, frames of reference, and spheres of inquiry, Archnet-IJAR, 13(1), pp. 8-24.
Sanoff, H. (1977). Methods of architectural programming, Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross.
Sanoff, H. (1978). Designing with community participation, New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Sanoff, H. (1984). Design games, Los Altos, CA: Kaufmann.
Sanoff, H. (1991). Visual research methods in design, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Sanoff, H. (1992). Integrating programming, evaluation and participation in design: a theory Z approach, Hampshire: Avebury/Ashgate.
Sanoff, H. (2000). Community participation methods in design and planning, New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Sanoff, H. (2010). Democratic design: participation case studies in urban and small town environments, Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Shin, J-hye, Narayan, M. and Dennis, S., eds., (2017). Voices of place: empower, engage, energize: proceedings of the 48th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association. Madison, WI: EDRA.
Simon, H.A. (1973). The structure of ill structured problems, Artificial Intelligence, 4(3-4), pp.181–201.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln Handbook of qualitative research. 1st ed. (pp. 273–284).
Thomas, J.C. and Carroll, J.M. (1979). The psychological study of design, San Jose, CA: IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Division.
Till, J. (2013). Architecture depends, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wade, J.W. (1977). Architecture, problems and purposes: architectural design as a basic problem-solving process, Chichester: Wiley.
Wessels, T. (2013). The myth of progress: toward a sustainable future, Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.
Whitehead, B. and Eldars, M. (1965). The planning of single-storey layouts, Building Science, 1(2), pp.127–139.
Whyte, J. and Nikolic, D. (2018). Virtual reality and the built environment, London: Routledge.
Whyte, W.H.(1980). The social life of small urban spaces, Washington, DC: Project for Public Spaces.
Zeisel, J. (1981). Inquiry by design: tools for environment-behaviour research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zuo, J., Daniel, L. and Soebarto, V., eds., (2016). Proceedings of the 50th international conference of the Architectural Science Association. In: Revisiting the role of architectural science in design and practice, Adelaide: School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide.