Architectural design education between poetry and prose

M. Herr Christiane (Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 11 November 2013



This paper aims to examine how poetry and prose relate to each other in the context of architectural design education. While the two notions tend to be presented as distinct opposites, this paper shows how design processes are made possible by designers moving dynamically between poetic and prosaic viewpoints.


The paper illustrates and supports the argument made in the paper through a series of images taken from an educational case study. The case study further shows how perceptions of poetry and prose can vary between different cultural backgrounds.


Building on the case study, the paper shows how architectural design education teaches students to establish links between poetic and prosaic realms in a dynamic and flexible manner. The discussion further provides a basis for understanding how perceptions of the prosaic and poetic can be understood as choices made by observers.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of this paper arise from the specificity of the reported case study and its reliance on the personal experience of the author as a teacher of architectural design primarily at universities within the greater China area.


This paper shows how the learning to move between perceptions of poetic and prosaic is employed in architectural designing and taught in architectural education. In discussing designers' moving between perceptions of poetic and prosaic, the paper relates epistemologies of cybernetics, design, traditional Chinese thought and radical constructivism.



The author would like to thank her students Chen Linjie and Yu Xiaole for sharing their work and experiences as well as for their comments to this paper.


M. Herr, C. (2013), "Architectural design education between poetry and prose", Kybernetes, Vol. 42 No. 9/10, pp. 1404-1412.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.