Both articles by Wang and Plowright, Stevens, and Adhya advocate using research to improve the design process, however in different ways. While they equally speak to the need of research Wang’s “Design in Relation to Research” seeks to prove that design and research are integral parts of one another. In contrast, Plowright, Stevens and Adhya’s “A Study of Process in Design: Curatorship, cloud intelligence and applied research” seeks to prove the need to share and use research in a society that demands more professional integration with architecture. Wang seeks to create a more successful design outcome by combining different methods of research. He cites an example of the method already in use “a multi method research approach that includes, at the tactical level, ethnographic, survey, participant design, and experimental methods” (Wang 1945, 125). In contrast, Plowright, Stevens and Adhya advocate the use of an inter-disciplinary transfer of knowledge to move the task of designing away from one designer and to a group of specialists. “Traditional disciplinary barriers often inhibit the acquisition of knowledge from beyond the boundaries of that discipline by defining territorial control, however openness is important” (Plowright et al. 2010, 3). They believe this combination of useful information will create an outcome that is in the best interest of the group of specialists. They argue to move design in a direction away from a sole designer and have only one objective of fulfilling the needs of the general public.
Both articles discuss how there is a scientific method that outlines how research is conducted and used in design. Wang focuses on how the person reaches out to gather information and test it against people and previous knowledge in the design process. He states, “the generative design process, on the other hand, emerges from other workings within human reason, workings that cannot be fully explained in a propositional way.” (Wang 1945, 105). In contrast,Plowright, Stevens and Adhya oppose the top down model and support the use of a free flowing organization to help spread needed resources. “Most structured organizations are, by definition, not able to be fully innovative as their own rigid structural shortcomings limit the range of possible answers before the question is even asked” (Plowright et al. 2010, 2). The views on how the design hierarchy is structured differ between the two articles and in how they see it impacting the design process.
After gathering information about the design process Wang and Plowright, Stevens and Adhya split on how they deal with this information. Wang describes methods to include and combine research results to create the most thorough design. He discusses how it is used to improve the designer himself, “Groat means to shift away from the model of the architect as sole technician or sole artist toward one that is sensitive to a larger communal mission of well-being” (Wang 1945, 117). On the other hand, Plowright, Stevens and Adhya, use case studies and run their own tests to show the benefits of a social network of information. “The goal is to allow for an environment of innovation by transferring research and knowledge from the periphery, where knowledge traditionally is housed in architecture, in a non-rigid structure” (Plowright et al. 2010, 5). In other words, the author wishes to create a combined professional field.
As discussed design and research are not living symbiotically as they should. Both articles support the increase and more careful use of information drawn from research. However, Wang advocates the personal use of combined research in order to improve design, while Plowright, Stevens and Adhya wish to see research spread with technology to inform the masses and to incorporate larger professional fields. They both advocate the need for research but differ on how to use it most effectively. Their ideas clash by their focus to improve the designer versus having teams of specialist combine a network of information to procure the best result. They differ in their views of who should be learning and contributing to the design. Wang advocates the practice of a more informed sole designer while Plowright, Stevens, and Adhya argue for a larger team of specialists. Both agree that research is vitally important and that it should contribute to the field.
Philip Plowright, James Stevens, and Dr. Anirban Adhya, “A Study of Process in Design: Curatorship, cloud intelligence and applied research” (2010). http://info.aia.org/arcc/program/program.html