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CRIT-GEOG-FORUM  April 1998

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM April 1998

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Subject:

Funded PhD Studentship

From:

"S.C. Guy" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

S.C. Guy

Date:

Sat, 4 Apr 1998 12:14:09 +0100 (BST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

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TEXT/PLAIN (90 lines)

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University of Newcastle Upon Tyne Postgraduate Studentship

Understanding Buildings: Competing Conceptions of Design and Development 

The Latham report on the construction industry emphasised the need for 
more effective, collaborative management of the architectural design 
process, while the Royal Institute of British Architects has, through a 
strategic review of the future role of architects, identified the need 
for a stronger interdisciplinary approach to professional training. These 
new institutional priorities reflect wider social, economic and 
environmental concerns which are transforming professional strategies of 
building development. However, our understanding of the process of 
building design is currently limited by narrow architectural, planning 
and engineering debates which suffer from design, physical or 
technological determinism. In this conventional view buildings are 
treated as materially similar, technical structures that vary merely in 
terms of their appearance and location. In particular this conventional 
view misses the ways in which the interplay of design actors - 
architects, planners, engineers and other development professionals - 
shapes the form and specification of buildings.

This studentship will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to critically 
examine how the changing social organisation of the development process 
shapes the form, design and specification of buildings. In particular it 
will examine how building design is mutually shaped by a range of 
development actors; architects, planners, engineers, developers, 
investors, agents and occupiers; who possess distinct 'ways of seeing' 
buildings and whose different development objectives often lead to 
competing design strategies. The studentship will involve; identifying 
the role each development actor plays in shaping the design of buildings; 
mapping the cultural, organisational, technological and economic contexts 
that frame the strategy of each design actor; assessing the relative 
influence of each professional grouping on the form, design and 
specification of buildings; and charting the inter-play of actors in the 
development process. The studentship will draw upon contemporary social 
studies of the production of urban form and will involve empirical 
case-studies of new building developments. A qualitative methodological 
approach will be employed in tracing the design process with 
semi-structured interviews designed to unravel the competing strategies 
of each development actor. In this way analysis will unpack the 
contrasting frames of reference shaping debates around design and 
specification choices. Building case-studies will be selected by the 
student in three significantly different development locations. The 
sectoral focus will be commercial offices because of the range of 
development actors involved and the economic and environmental 
significance of the office sector.

Applicants will have a background in either urban sociology, human 
geography, architecture and planning studies or related areas and a keen 
interest in understanding the social construction of the built 
environment. Knowledge of architectural design/urban development 
processes is desirable but not essential. Applicants should have or 
expect to obtain a Master's degree or a First or good Upper Second Class 
Honours degree in an appropriate subject.

The studentship will be based in a new Department being formed by the 
merger of Architecture and Town and Country Planning. It will be 
supervised by Simon Guy who has extensive experience of utilising 
qualitative techniques to draw together issues relating to building 
design, social processes and urban change. The studentship will also 
benefit from wider departmental expertise in the areas of architectural 
design, property development and management and the sociology of urban 
design from colleagues in the Centre for Urban Technology (CUT) and the 
Centre for Research into European Urban Environments (CREUE).

University Studentships are tenable for three years and include a 
maintenance grant of #7,000 from September 1998, which is subject to an 
annual review, and remission of Home/EU or Excepted Student fees.  
(Students who are liable for fees at a higher rate will need to pay the 
difference.)  Each Studentship has generous support costs and there is 
provision to enable students to travel to selected conferences during the 
course of the Studentship.

For further information or an informal discussion please contact Simon 
Guy, Department of Town and Country Planning, Claremont Tower, University 
of Newcastle, NE1 7RU, (Tel: 0191 222 5408; E-mail: [log in to unmask]). 
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Simon Guy  (Senior Research Associate)

Centre for Urban Technology  (CUT)
Department of Town and Country Planning,  University of Newcastle,
Claremont Tower,  Newcastle Upon Tyne,  NE1 7RU.
Tel: 0191 222 5408   Fax: 0191 222 8811  E-Mail: [log in to unmask]





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