A reconceptualization of the production of knowledge in architecture through research laboratories

Acar, Zuhal
This thesis defines a new organization for the production of knowledge in architecture through research laboratories based on the assumption that the concept of discipline is incapable of describing the current practices of knowledge production in the field. By emphasizing the inadequacy of the term ‘discipline’ within the broader scale of the whole field of knowledge, this study identifies an epistemological crisis that signals the dissolution of the hierarchical disciplinary system. A new lateral field of knowledge has already been constructed by utilizing the terms “multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinarity” as the core vocabulary defining different levels of relationships between disciplines. This study argues for a further shift in architecture, which has been instigated by the urge for innovation in knowledge production and enabled by the proliferation of research laboratories in the schools of architecture since the 2000s. A historical and conceptual understanding of the notion of the ‘laboratory’ itself demonstrates that these laboratories are the conscious responses to the fact that knowledge takes on another shape rather than the disciplinary one. This study constructs a conceptual framework through an analysis of the laboratories’ self-descriptions to decipher how they reflect this new field of knowledge. A set of actions that defines the knowledge production practices in these laboratories is compiled, interpreted, and visually represented with reference to both positivist and post-positivist outlooks of science. This framework illustrates that the laboratory, as a multifaceted concept, has the capacity to accommodate the ever-increasing complexities of the field of architecture, and the term ‘laboratory’ in the organization and production of knowledge as a unit is better suited to architecture; rather than ‘discipline.’


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Citation Formats
Z. Acar, “A reconceptualization of the production of knowledge in architecture through research laboratories,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2022.