Research by Design: Theory or Practice? / EDAR, FAR


Event details

Date 31.03.2023
Hour 10:0018:00
Speaker Paolo Tombesi (EPFL), Kerstin Thompson (KTA, and RMIT University, Melbourne), Milinda Pathiraja (RAW, Colombo), Hannah Robertson (Melbourne School of Design), Elli Mosayebi (ETHZ), Sascha Roesler (AAM), Elena Cogato Lanza (EPFL)
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

Its professional nature notwithstanding, architecture is seldom studied through the activity - design - which characterises its material development. Initiated by the EPFL Doctoral Program in Architecture and Science of the City (EDAR), the 2023 edition of the public seminar SCHOLARS in Transition seeks to focus on the particular, still little understood, type of research, done ‘through’ design.

Research by Design: Theory or Practice?

What does design mean in this context, though, and specifically within doctoral studies? Is it an act required to validates hypotheses, hence following traditional scholarly methods rather than replacing them? Or is it a reflection that generates theories by collating relevant data synthetically rather than analytically? In both cases, how can rigour be ascertained in the work carried out? Does the Cartesian method used in sciences apply? Or is design a method of conceptual investigation that belongs exclusively in the humanities?

To address these and other related issues, three international award-winning architects with a PhD by Design in their curriculum vitae will present and discuss their experience, the reasons behind their advanced study choice, and the impact this choice has had over their work and careers. A round table with representatives of doctoral programs and research in Architecture at ETHZ and Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio will debate on doctoral scholarship by design and its cultural perspectives.

10h00-10h45 Paolo Tombesi (EPFL), Scholarship by design: Questions of method
10h45-12h00 Kerstin Thompson (KTA, and RMIT University, Melbourne), Combining people and place
12h00-13h15 Break
13h15-14h30 Milinda Pathiraja (RAW, Colombo), Imagining labour
14h45-16h00 Hannah Robertson (Melbourne School of Design), Weaving regional threads
16h15-17h45 Roundtable: Scholarship by design - Cultural perspectives
With Elli Mosayebi (ETHZ), Sascha Roesler (AAM), Elena Cogato Lanza (EPFL), and presenters.
17h45-18h00 Closing words

The seminar will be held on March 31, at the Forum d'architecture Lausanne F'AR, Av. Villamont 4, Lausanne.

The seminar is open to all. Taken as a PhD seminar, it corresponds to 1 ECTS. More info here: EDAR Coursebook.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • EDAR, Elena Cogato Lanza; FAR, Paolo Tombesi


  • Elena Cogato Lanza


architecture research design

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