What exactly is Creativity within the academic context of Architectural Design Studio?

Jan 9 '14 4 Last Comment
Jan 9, 14 3:25 am

Hi professors and academes (in Architectural Design Studio),

Each time I hear the word 'creativity', I am confused. Either it is a visionary, radical approach, or it is knowledge-based. Creativity applies even in sciences, law and philosophy where it is knowledge-based and means producing new knowledge.

According to Bloom's Taxonomy, creativity never occurs without precedents, that is, it is preceded by intellectual processes of knowledge, understanding, analysis and evaluation.

Personally as a child, creativity was intuitive by virtue of drawing on paper, using imagination, and so on. However, according to critical standards, it is not that easy - it is always counter-intuitive, and is another word for lateral thinking, thinking outside the square, and innovation, where the architect/designer must draw on different areas of expertise, knowledge, synthesise together, respond adaptively to unfamiliar situations and problems and so on.

So in architecture schools, professors often say, be radical and creative. I'm sure this applies not just in formal and aesthetical design but also programming, structural design, environmental design and so on. Are professors already expecting us to do extensive research and wide architectural reading, as each time we engage in the design studio on projects and apply to the work? Are they already expecting and assuming that we are very knowledgeable on certain design aspects before we commit to design and execution?

So, let me get a few things straight. Apart from studying at UTS Architecture School, where in almost 90% of the cases, students NEVER read and research in their own interest except when doing research assignments, in good architecture schools worldwide, do students read and research extensively and regularly as they engage in design, dialogues and planning each time?

How much is the case where students and architects use knowledge and research as a basis for designing with creativity?

According to one good professor, 'it is impossible to conceive, imagine and do design without research precedents first of all.' However, there were other tutors who appeared cynical and confronting, for example, by saying 'Get over that research crap and thinking - just do the design and be radical.'

Can anyone help?


Jan 9, 14 3:56 am

IMHO, creativity in architecture means a typological breakthrough. It is how one reimagine and transform the reality. It can be either an enchanting singularity that is totally extraneous or a  critical step forward that is still largely engaged with the status quo. The later is considered more responsible, professional and pragmatic. Also, creativity is highly related to the ability to map, connect and narrate. There is always a strong narrative structure behind any creative action that is either proactive or personally meaningful.

Feb 4, 14 1:15 pm


There is no single definition.


Take zaha hadid, she is a free flowing creative, she draws as her instincts guide her


Now, take someone like one of the post-modernists, they use the logic of architectural language to exercise their creativity, it's structured creatitivty, whereas Zaha is more organic. These are two examples of creativity, you have to tune into the creative category of your tutor, because obviously, they are marking your work, so yes, you have to know what the preferences of your tutor is to get the high mark. That's until, your work gets marked by external examiners and you won't know what to expect.

Feb 4, 14 11:13 pm


you, again? stop wasting your time on here and go back to doing 'designy thangs' in studio... you need the practice.

boy in a well
Feb 5, 14 2:50 am


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