Architectural Research Methods

Architectural Research Methods

Architectural Research Methods

Architectural Research Methods


A practical guide to research for architects and designers-now updated and expanded!

From searching for the best glass to prevent glare to determining how clients might react to the color choice for restaurant walls, research is a crucial tool that architects must master in order to effectively address the technical, aesthetic, and behavioral issues that arise in their work.

This book's unique coverage of research methods is specifically targeted to help professional designers and researchers better conduct and understand research. Part I explores basic research issues and concepts, and includes chapters on relating theory to method and design to research. Part II gives a comprehensive treatment of specific strategies for investigating built forms. In all, the book covers seven types of research, including historical, qualitative, correlational, experimental, simulation, logical argumentation, and case studies and mixed methods.

Features new to this edition include:

  • Strategies for investigation, practical examples, and resources for additional information
  • A look at current trends and innovations in research
  • Coverage of design studio-based research that shows how strategies described in the book can be employed in real life
  • A discussion of digital media and online research
  • New and updated examples of research studies
  • A new chapter on the relationship between design and research

Architectural Research Methods is an essential reference for architecture students and researchers as well as architects, interior designers, landscape architects, and building product manufacturers.


The aim of this book is to provide an introductory handbook for anyone wishing to conduct research—or more informally, inquiry—on an aspect of the built environment—from the scale of a building component, a room, a building, a neighborhood, to an urban center.

By this we mean to suggest that this book is intended to be both comprehensive and an entry point. Our intent is to be comprehensive by providing a single text that addresses the full range of research methods available and applicable to the diverse array of topics germane to architectural research. Our intent is also to offer an entry point by introducing readers to the major characteristics and applications of each research method, while simultaneously providing references to more specific books and articles on the methods of interest.

This overarching goal, as articulated in the introduction to the first edition of this book, remains a constant. However, both the nature and role of architectural research, as conducted in the academy and practice, have gradually shifted over the decade since the first edition was published in 2002. Some areas of inquiry—for example, the multiple dimensions and applications of sustainable design—have become relatively more prominent. Other research foci (e.g., the application of notable schools of thought such as critical theory or poststructuralism to design theory) have waned in some contexts, while the hands-on exploration of digital technologies and prototype fabrication has become a significant emphasis in many settings.

In the academic context specifically, the number of doctoral programs in architecture has increased and now figures at close to 30 programs in North America . . .

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