Modelling Co-Evolution in Design Practice

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Smulders, Frido E.; Dorst, Kees; Reymen, Isabelle M.
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 335-346


Co-evolution is considered as a key characteristic of designing. Several authors have described design thinking processes as the co-evolution of design problem and design solution. Its theoretical grounding is, however, still in an early stage. In this paper, we aim to bring the concept further by studying a real life design meeting of an architect and a client. We developed a model of how co-evolution in a multi-party setting might work, consisting of the problems as perceived by the architect and client, the solutions as perceived by the architect and client, and relations between those. A co-evolution episode starts with introducing an underdeveloped design-solution pairing from the perspective of the initiating actor and ends with summing up the discussion and/or agreeing on the decisions taken. The developed model was used to look in detail at the utterances in three co-evolution episodes and then refined by adding a intermediate space concerning the "use" of the building and the application of boundary objects that mediates between problem and solution spaces in interactions between designer and client.

Keywords: design model, design problem, communication, collaborative design, co-evolution


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