The purpose of this paper is to detail an actor-network theory inspired ethnography of recording heritage buildings. The case study focusses on Irbid School in Al Tal area, which is one of the oldest schools in Jordan and an important heritage building.
The recording process was undertaken by third-year architectural design studio students from Philadelphia University. The paper documents the interaction between the heritage building and the students in a two-phased ethnography, including fieldwork conducted between September and December 2017.
The paper proposes the concept of “transfer ethnography”, which considers the continuous changes in design across different locations. This extends beyond traditional ethnography, which focusses on a single location. Here, in contrast to the classical viewpoint, following the recording process shows that building design is ongoing and extends beyond implementation through the years as the building ages.
Due to the chosen research approach, the research investigated the most relevant events from the author’s perspective, which might extend in various ways. Future research is encouraged to investigate more events that support the empirical findings.
The paper provides a new angle from which building design networks can be followed through the transfer ethnography, which has implications for the recording and similar processes that necessitate the continuous following of actors.
The research suggests the transfer ethnography, which entails close and in-depth engagement with actors but changes with the transformation of a design while following the actors and networks’ shifts between the different locations. It is more delicate, attentive and indispensable considering the dynamics of design.
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