Poiesis or Semiosis in Architectural Design Practice

  • Sven Verbruggen Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias


We inquire into architectural design theory1 to find ways out of the gridlocks thatoccur in the design process. When mining for guidance, it becomes clear that - toparaphrase biosemiotician Victoria N. Alexander - ‘we need to better understandcreativity (poietics) to supplement and enhance our understanding of alreadyestablishedhabit (semiotics).’ (Alexander, 2013) Knowing the difference between ahabitual association and a radical novelty allows us to define convention andinvention more accurately. It leads to an important implication for architecturaldesign theories. We will learn that prescriptive theory that intends to provide directsolutions - or positive feedback - can only instruct on conventional design decisions- already-established habits. By implication, if we want prescriptive theory to guidetoward innovating design ideas it can only do so by reflecting on what creativity isconstrained by. Thus, an essential part of theory should provide negative feedbackand address clearly what not to do, which conventions should be put up for debate,both on an individual level as well as on the level of the discipline.

Biografia Autor

Sven Verbruggen, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias
Ir. Architect - Tutor - Researcher