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Epistemology, Technology, And Organization: The Effects Of Change In Architectural Design

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Practice/Industry Partnership

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.530.1 - 8.530.10



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Betz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2146

Epistemology, Technology and Organization: the affects of change in architectural design

Joseph A. Betz State University of New York at Farmingdale

Abstract This paper investigates a number of changes occurring in the way we think about and produce design for the built environment. There are three major factors affecting change that will be examined: epistemology and the type of knowledge; technology and the method or process used; and organization in the division of labor. The interrelationship of each of these produces a complex matrix. This paper develops a theoretical model to map and measure these changes. It is important for educators because it provides a point of reference for preparing students and an understanding of the operational level at which academia and industry work. The goal of the paper is to present this initial idea and to obtain comment for future development.

Introduction For the first time in history the technology exists to automate certain kinds of complicated cognitive design processes. Just as the Industrial Revolution freed man physically from many labor-intensive processes, the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) Revolution is freeing him or her cognitively from many tedious calculation and design tasks. No longer will young architectural interns be designing gang toilet plans, hip roof plans or basic wall sections nor will engineering interns be drawing steel framing plans or detailed shop drawings; it can all be designed by computer, the process is now automated! What will be left for the designer will be the design philosophy, the ideal value judgements and critical review of the automated design product itself. This is going to have a profound effect on the way we design, how we define it, produce it and teach it.

These technological changes are going to lead to a philosophical separation between academia and industry because certain cognitive processes will be completely automated by technology, thus rendering specific types of knowledge obsolete. In the same token, certain types of knowledge used as building blocks for learning can only be gained by using obsolete technology. In addition, the technology is fostering further division and compartmentalization of work in industry whereas academia prefers a more individual and holistic approach. Herein lies the problem, industry is moving toward one set of operational platforms in design that academia cannot use under its current thinking for pedagogical reasons.

In the past neither the operational or motivational differences between academia and industry produced real conflict. Each had their own domain, one theory and the other practice, that together produced a rich symbiotic relationship. Both used very similar operational platforms in terms of epistemology, technology and organization. Design was typically done by hand from

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Betz, J. (2003, June), Epistemology, Technology, And Organization: The Effects Of Change In Architectural Design Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12029

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015