The dialectics of sketching


The paper makes an interesting observation of patterns in sketching that certainly holds true for me. My”active” sketching phase, as shown by the subjects, are longer than contemplating or reflecting the sketch at the moment. However, there are certainly many questions left unanswered in the study. For example, there is no investigation to the amount of time or effort in the contemplating phases. The sketch artist may continue to “sketch” in his mind while contemplating his current sketch. While the study protocol has indicated that the subjects were tasked with think-aloud protocol, there was no analysis in this regard. It would be interesting to see a higher granularity for the argument mapping as shown in Figure 10 of the paper. I suspect there are many more variations and creations within the sketcher’s mind beyond what was drawn on the piece of paper.

The Design Studio


The study proposed in the paper is certainly interesting. It would be more interesting to apply his approach into other subjects that have similar process, such as software engineering. Just like in physical architecture, software architecture possess its own design limitation and design space not unlike that of physical one. Spaces for building can be easily equated to memory space and structural stability can be similar to algorithm’s integrity and stability. Software engineering differs slightly in that the design space limitations are more abstract. 10,000 element-wide array is, in my opinion, more abstract than 10,000 square meters. With this in mind, how would the designer’s reflection differ? Would it be difficult to recruit architects that are proficient in both buildings and software?

What do architects and students perceive in their design sketches? A protocol analysis


The study shows an interesting promise for creating a map for thought-process in sketching. The evaluation data and conclusion shows that someone experienced and knowledgeable in the subject produce longer “continuing chunk” is not surprising.  The observation certainly has some validation in real-life, I believe. Whether having a larger proportion of “continuous chunk” produce better design or ideas are very much debatable. Longer continuous chunk may indicate longer focus on an idea or element, but it could also mean that there was less exploration of idea involved. The paper’s inclusion about relationships between chunk holds the most interesting idea. Rather than applying statistical analysis, I believe that there’s much more to be gained by analyzing the relationship or transition from chunks to chunk. The paper also acknowledge this sentiment in their future works section.


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