Cognition and Communication in Architectural Design

Thora Tenbrink, Christoph Hoelscher, Dido Tsigaridi, Ruth Dalton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


During building design, architects communicate frequently with numerous stakeholders, the most important of which may be their clients; occasionally, they also interact with future building occupants. Each of these groups is characterized by a different kind of mindset concerning the design issues, and each draws on a different conceptual background, leading to diverging terminology and potential miscommunication. In this paper, we discuss the challenges that arise due to the discrepant discourses and points of view employed by the people involved. The architect's perspective involves complex considerations of aesthetics, innovation and creativity, functionality, constraints imposed by the client, the environment, materials and costs, and multiple other issues that may arise at any stage, from concept to implementation. Furthermore, special issues may come into play depending on the project; navigability, for example, is a priority in the design of complex public buildings. The users' perspective overlaps with these but is more strongly focused on perception of the environment, functionality, appropriation, and wayfinding. The client's perspective may center on economical, functional, and aesthetic aspects. These different perspectives pose substantial challenges to successful and goal-directed communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace in mind: Concepts for spatial learning and education
EditorsDaniel Montello, Karl Grossner, Donald Janelle
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherThe MIT Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780262321730
ISBN (Print)9780262028295
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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