Teaching Design at the Limits of Architecture
journal article
Pre-industrial architects inherently knew the effectual dimension of design through its materiality, detail, and form. Until now, the intellectual dichotomy of human thinking held that mind and body were separate entities, drawing a distinction between reasoned thought and feeling. The early Greek philosophers distinguished between these two realms. Theories on beauty, the human aesthetic impulse, and design were divided along the objective and subjective lines for centuries. In more current architectural terms, the objective dimension of industry gave structure and perceived virtue to the modernist paradigm, while at the same time clearing the way (tabula rasa) for the rampant subjectivity we now see in the idiosyncratic expressions of so many contemporary architects. By revealing the relationship between our physical and mental processes, neuroscience re-situates the debate on physical reality well outside the intellectual enterprise of aesthetically driven design. Clear measures can now be evidenced, documented, and applied to establish a new, more effective, and humanly engaging way to build. This new architecture draws upon those mechanisms of neuro-connectivity that help us to feel safe and secure.

From this knowledge we have developed a new model for building/rebuilding the world, called Intelligence-Based Design. Intelligence-Based Design is the purposeful manipulation of the built environment to engage humans in an essential manner through complex organized information. Intelligence-Based Theory evidences the direct neurological evaluations of surface, structure, pattern, texture, and form, etc., and maintains that our sense of well being is established through positive neuro-engagement with the physical world at the deepest level common to all people, i.e. “Innate Intelligence.” This paper describes a senior architectural design studio taught using the precepts of Intelligence-Based Design. We describe our methodology, and the successful implementations of both theoretical concepts and practical ideas on pedagogy. We also relate in some detail the numerous conceptual obstacles we came up against; almost all of them attributable to the anti-architectural training students tend to receive inside contemporary architectural programs.
Salingaros, Nikos A. and Masden II, Kenneth G. "Teaching Design at the Limits of Architecture," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issues 2/3 (2010).
Parent Publications
Nikos A. Salingaros and Kenneth G. Masden II
United States
architectural design
architectural education
contemporary architecture
professional practice
research in architecture