Architectural design education between poetry and prose

Christiane M. Herr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to examine how poetry and prose relate to each other in the context of architectural design education. While the two notions tend to be presented as distinct opposites, this paper shows how design processes are made possible by designers moving dynamically between poetic and prosaic viewpoints. Design/methodology/approach: The paper illustrates and supports the argument made in the paper through a series of images taken from an educational case study. The case study further shows how perceptions of poetry and prose can vary between different cultural backgrounds. Findings: Building on the case study, the paper shows how architectural design education teaches students to establish links between poetic and prosaic realms in a dynamic and flexible manner. The discussion further provides a basis for understanding how perceptions of the prosaic and poetic can be understood as choices made by observers. Research limitations/implications: Limitations of this paper arise from the specificity of the reported case study and its reliance on the personal experience of the author as a teacher of architectural design primarily at universities within the greater China area. Originality/value: This paper shows how the learning to move between perceptions of poetic and prosaic is employed in architectural designing and taught in architectural education. In discussing designers' moving between perceptions of poetic and prosaic, the paper relates epistemologies of cybernetics, design, traditional Chinese thought and radical constructivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1404-1412
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Architectural design
  • Creativity
  • Education
  • Poetic
  • Prosaic


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