General

The junior professorship “Tool Culture” investigates the tools and methods used during the design process. Consequently, it can be assigned to the scientific field of design theory.
Within Faculty II it is part of the Collaborative Research Field “Context and Form”.

In research the term “tool” is defined in broad terms:
As designing is an activity composed of intuitive and rational processes, tools can be defined in multiple categories: presentation tools, analysis and synthesis tools, communication and thinking tools, all helping with the discovery and organization of design-relevant knowledge. The combination and interaction of the different tools facilitate the creative, innovative and problem-solving moments, which in the end constitute the design.

In this context, the following research questions are handled:

  • What potential lies in the research of non-architectural knowledge and how does the designer integrate the collected information into his decision-making process? Is it possible to distinguish information-transfer and methodical-transfer in this transmission?
  • How far can the tools overcome the diversity of technical languages and become communicative interfaces? How can interdisciplinary teamwork turn from a necessity to a potential?
  • What is the typical architectural corpus of knowledge based on – that is references, handbooks and standards – and how does it revise and renew itself?
  • What potential lies in the development of personal design tools and methods?
  • How does the professional self-perception of the architect and the choice of design tools influence each other?
  • Which tool-genealogies can be described to make innovative tools become part of the cultural practice of designing?
  • When it comes to choosing presentation techniques and comparing analog and digital instruments, which impact do the tools have on the design process – how do they condition the outcome?
  • Considering the increasing availability of data in the design process: How can selection criteria and weighting be designed?

The research – which is, as described, mainly research on design – can be perfectly combined with teaching, because the students try and describe the tools and develop their own tools. Additionally the observation of the student design processes can be evaluated scientifically.