Consideration of Material Behaviour in the Creative Design Process: A Perspective from Structural Engineering
The purpose of this paper is to examine how material choices are made in practice by structural engineers and by implication how material behaviour is understood. The research uses documents from recently completed design projects. By extracting specific design ideas and decisions from project documentation and categorizing them based on the type of material knowledge, (either theoretical or technological), and the process by which the decision was made, (either intuitively or using a specific design tool to verify), the authors wish to illustrate the role of material in the creative design process undertaken by structural engineers. The results reveal a complex interconnection between material represented as matter (as defined in the theories of structures and strength of materials), and the particular nature of individual materials as understood through technological knowledge.