Understanding Design Fields
The article discusses two interwoven purposes that are necessary to revive design theory from an environment-behavior perspective. The first purpose is to clarify the association between sciences and design fields and the second purpose is to consider the contribution to the design fields related to the behavioral sciences. Issues, which have been considered to make clarification, include addressing the ambiguity of the role of the designer (mental designer); dual consideration of the design fields as professional fields and the nature of theoretical base. The major outlook among current environment-behavior researchers is that design fields are unwilling to make use of their research. The perception of the designers is that much of the current research is irrelevant since it does not address the problems confronted in the performance of professional tasks. This mutual misunderstanding of the concerns in dealing with design issues unnecessarily maintains the situation.
Design Fields as Art and as Environmental Design
Two opposing self-images of an artist and environmental designer are apparent in art and environmental design. Architects regard themselves as artists because their works are artistic while environmental designers offer their services to improve the quality of the environment. Concerning the forms of theory applied, designers and scientists differ. Designers are concerned with design and construction of the product while scientists are concerned with the role of theory in their work. Profession and practices in normative positions distinguish designers’ works. Design field has more of normative rather than positive and substantive rather than procedural.
Modern movement as Art and as Environment Design
The term modern has been used to describe particular architectural movements and styles since the beginning of the Renaissance. The first generation of modern movement consisted of the Anglo –Americans. The Anglo –Americans borrowed from the past for their models of good societies and from rural imagery for their aesthetics. The Continentals harnessed for technology to raise the standard of living and formed new aesthetic philosophy without explicit historical precedents. For the subsequent generation of architects, the Rediscovery of Architectural symbolism became their secondary concern and their architecture symbolized progress and regarded a baroque revival in which a sense of order and hierarchy was sought. The generation of architects involved the process of taking a form and operating a function into it.
The design field as environmental design
Most of the modern movement architects wanted to align themselves with artists with their goal being communicating meaning through line and form. Architects used positive theories of perceptions and aesthetics in presenting their normative theories through building ideology based on nature of perception. In the 19th century, social and philanthropic movements were concerned with the quality of life and advocated for better working conditions and a concept of the good social organization of society. The second generation was more concerned with environmental design on small scale and less concerned with social purpose while the third generation half-heatedly addressed issues of the environment.
Architects relied so much on substantive theory for their intuitions and common sense in dealing with the environment, people, and behavior. Designers, on the other hand, applied an intuitive understanding of the overall design process in their work. Two directions of response to observations of limitations of normative theories of the modern movement have been to shift to new normative positions without shifting considerations of nature of positive base for the design. This is in addition to creating an understanding of experiential nature of human-environment interaction with a normative model of design. Post modernism, deconstructivism, and classicism are three major normative theories that have replaced modernism in recent years. Post modernism distinguishing goal was to create architectural patterns having dual referents-ambiguity paying attention to historical memories of building types and styles.
Implications for the future research and application
Art, environment design, and science as integrated functions should be developed to advanced levels. Designers ought to understand the relationship between social and physical environment and the potential in these fields for better effectiveness in the environment. In addition, it is necessary to incorporate the role of environment-behavior research is the development of design discipline.