Cognitive Use of Cultural Schemas in Architectural Design

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The literature on the ‘cognitive role of culture in design’ brings up two distinct aspects, which are respectively: ‘culture’s cognitive role in the interpretation of design products’ and ‘its role in their creative production’. Revolving around the reception and generation of designed artifacts this way, the literature forms a framework where the ‘interpretation’, ‘production’, and the ‘designed cultural artifact’ are connected through the cognitive use of culture.

Within this framework, the cognitive function of cultural knowledge in the ‘interpretation of new information’ has attracted considerable research interest. However its role in the ‘production of designed artifacts’ still seems to be an area that needs further attention.

In this project, within this twofold cognitive role of culture, the emphasis will essentially be on the production. Accordingly, the project will question ‘how we could conceive creativity differently if we consider culture through the use of cultural attributes such as cognitive schemas and precedents’. Having such a goal, the project will firstly examine the notions of culture and creativity from a cognitive perspective; secondly study creativity and culture in relation to each other; thirdly discuss their implications for architectural design; and lastly develop a conceptual framework and methodology, which will be utilized in a case study formed by a sample of projects gathered from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Altogether the project will develop as an interpretive-historical inquiry with data collection methods such as archive search or field survey, and it will try to articulate a cultural and cognitive theory of architecture that examines the cognitive utilization of cultural schemas in architectural design. This paper will provide an overview about this project by presenting its theoretical framework and a sample case study.

Keywords: Culture, Creativity, Cognition, Cultural Schemas, Architectural Design
Stream: Aesthetics, Design
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Cognitive Use of Cultural Schemas in Architectural Design

Zeynep Cigdem Uysal

PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, College of Design, North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC, USA

Ref: H08P0428