Design Research, Series on Method
(see all DR_SoM related pages)

Aim and rationale

After some decades of development, design research definitely has come of age. Dynamism, originality and particularity are major features of this field of research, and must be cherished.

There is no longer any merit in demonstrating the existence of high level academic design research, nor in demonstrating the breadth of this field, nor the multitude and diversity of issues that it tackles.  Instead there is a need for a stronger establishment of this field of research,  in order to reach and convince a broader audience, inside and outside the field, researchers as well as practitioners, institutions and industry as well as policy makers.

The epitheton ‘Design Research’ still acts as a huge umbrella, spanning a broad range of diverse approaches. The rationale of the ARENA project ‘Design Research, Series on Method’ (DR_SoM) consists in the belief that discerning common and distinctive features between approaches, and identifying particularities and coherence between themes, tools, strategies, and discourse, will contribute to a better understanding of the scope and capacities of design research. This will be helpful to be more precise in research proposals, in identifying appropriate peers, in establishing accurate assessment of the outcome, and finally it will inspire for future endeavours. At last, a better comprehension of design research as an academic field and culture, will contribute to a better communication, interaction and exchange with other research disciplines and communities. It will demonstrate its ability to be a catalyst for inter- and trans-disciplinary endeavours, and offer new approaches to pending issues.


Through a series of research seminars and workshops, the DR_SoM project will sequentially focus on particularities and common ground within kindred approaches in architectural design research, including design as creative practice to generate insights through making, through inventing new typologies, through emanating theoretical concepts, through mimicking nature, through scenario writing, through action research etcetera. Each meeting consists of a small group of researchers (e.g.15 to 30), gathered through a particular approach, and sharing this interest in the issue of methodology in design research. Panel presentations and table discussions, organized in time slots allowing for in-depth debates and avoiding parallel sessions – will lead to mutual exchange of expert knowledge between presenters and commenters, and novice and senior researchers.


Partners /scientific committee:

Oya Atalay Franck, ZHAW Winterthur (project leader)
Roberto Cavallo, TU Delft
Johan De Walsche, University of Antwerp (project leader)
Murray Fraser, UCL Bartlett
Flora Samuel, Reading School of Architecture
João Sequeira, ULHT/LABart Lisbon
Johan Verbeke, KULeuven/Aarhus School of Architecture
Pieter Versteegh, ESA Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, Paris
Bernard Kormosse, ULG Liège


Time table

Meeting 1 : TUDelft  __ 1-2 Nov 2013
Meeting 2 : ZHAW Winterthur, October 31st 2014
Meeting 3 : University of Antwerp, May 28-29 2015
Meeting 4 : Reading School of Architecture, April 21-22 2016
Meeting 5 : Cork School of Architecture, November 3rd and 4th 2016
Meeting 6 : Design Research (in) Practice II Lisbon 2018-May-25-26
Meeting 7 : Digital Practice Graz 2019 October-24-26

All DR_SoM Events


coordination of DR_SoM project

Johan De Walsche : johan.dewalsche@uantwerpen.be

Organization of each meeting :

The hosting institute + both project leaders