Ph.D. By Design Symposium

 Friday, January 26 2018 | Architectural Association (AA) | London | U.K.

Chaired by: Mark Morris

Speakers: Paula Cadima (Sustainable Environmental Design), Mark Cousins (History and Critical Thinking), Maria Shéhérazade Giudici (City – Architecture), Marina Lathouri (History and Critical Thinking), Michael Weinstock (Emergent Technologies & Design), Simos Yannas (Sustainable Environmental Design)

Organizers: Elif Erdine, Mohammad Makki, Lukas Pauer, Milad Showkatbakhsh


In a variety of fields, doctoral research conventionally culminates in the format of a text-based dissertation. Within the architectural discourse, a variety of institutions have started to acknowledge the relevance of integrating nonwritten components into doctoral dissertations in architectural design. A new kind of doctoral program is being developed, often coined as ‘PhD by Design’, engaging with design discourse as both contribution as well as technique. Within the Architectural Association, doctoral students can pursue their research either through ‘the traditional route of the written dissertation or combine writing with design research for the studio-based Ph.D. in architectural design’ (AA Prospectus). However, there is presently a lack of consensus within the Architectural Association in regard to what a ‘PhD by Design’ means. The convoluted understanding of the non-written component necessitates an open conversation between doctoral supervisors and students. How can one find common ground in comparing different approaches to a ‘PhD by Design’? 
Chaired by Mark Morris, Head of Teaching and Learning at the Architectural Association, the format of the event seeks to mirror a student’s initial entry into doctoral research itself: In response to a given topic formulated as a Ph.D. by Design proposal, doctoral supervisors are asked to submit a research proposal comprises 500 words and non-written components (e.g. 2-3 images) - to be included in a publication following the symposium - as well as present their individual approach at the event in 10min followed by a 10min discussion. This format shall allow for a comparative overview of different approaches to a PhD by design. 

Symposium Video