Toward An Ontology Of Design Philosophy In Landscape Architecture: Developing A Personal Design Philosophy
Fields, Rhonda Erin
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This thesis uses qualitative inquiry to examine the process for developing a personal design philosophy. The larger goal of the study seeks to understand the universal and particulars of design as philosophy with the intent to develop an ontology for design philosophy in landscape architecture. "Design is a crucial factor in the relation between beings and worlds as they shape each other, yet as a philosophy, design itself hardly exists" (Willis, 2009). Willis and others in the field of design philosophy suggest that design as a philosophy has only recently begun to be studied. Further, to begin an understanding of the universal philosophy of design, the definition and construction of the particulars must be laid down, thus forming an understandable ontology. Expressed in the literature are the implications of design philosophy to daily lives, whether considering the universal concept of design as philosophy or the particulars that make it up. The literature further expresses the idea that every street, bench, and utensil has its grounding in design philosophy. Yet, when speaking of design philosophy, designers often state their philosophy in terms of an execution of form driven by a set of analysis of an inventory and program needs, ignoring the broader thought processes behind decisions they make. The hypothesis of this study is that there is a process for developing a personal design philosophy which is similar among individuals in landscape architecture. This study uses open-ended interviews with landscape architects and students at various levels of experience and types of practice, both academic and non-academic, from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and The University of Texas at Arlington's Program in Landscape Architecture. The aim is to identify their definition of the term design philosophy, describe their personal design philosophies, and explain how they came to those philosophies. The process can then be used to broaden a personal design philosophy by focusing training and experience on key factors.Data from the interviews were analyzed to find consistent themes, which were broken down into main and sub-categories. A simple model was developed based on the findings. The model illustrates that the process for developing a personal design philosophy consists of the initial and ongoing influences which are moderated by how design philosophy is defined, what interferes with it, and what view is used by the individual for its evaluation. Further research is needed to fit this into design as philosophy in landscape architecture.