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Website: 4TU.nl

Project introduction and background information

Architecture[1] (‘Bouwkunde’) is an engineering science that focuses on solving socio-spatial-technical issues in the built environment. The core knowledge question of the engineering sciences is ‘does it work?’ (my design, my prototype, my plan, my model), whereas empirical sciences deal with the core knowledge question ‘is it true?’. Therefore, engineering sciences make use of a variety of less-traditional academic skills and research methods. Academic skills in architecture focus to a large extent on assessing design situations, informing design decisions, underpinning design solutions, and critically reflect on design processes.

[1] With ‘architecture’ we refer here to spatial design, planning, and engineering in the built environment in a wider sense: architectural design and engineering, urban design and planning, building technology, landscape architecture, geo-information for the built environment, management in the built environment.

Practical outcomes

The editorial board presents a coherent overview of academic skills for architects. The open access book is a learning tool for our own bachelor ‘Bouwkunde’ students, but also an international benchmark. It can support students in analysis and research projects, as well as design projects. The book is authored by a large group of faculty colleagues from the fields of architecture, urban design and planning, geo-information, building technology, management in the built environment, and landscape architecture, and a few external authors.

The book Academic Skills for Architects consists of four parts. The first part sets the scene by presenting architecture as a scientific field within the engineering sciences. Part two describes general conventions of scientific ways of working within the domain of architecture. The third part focuses on architecture-specific academic skills and research methods, and it presents and discusses the relation between scientific research and academic design. Part four shares insights in academic reflection approaches relevant to architects, with specific emphasis on design thinking and design processes, design implementation and stakeholders (practice, feasibility, entrepreneurship), and moral sensitivity and values for the built environment.