Developing a New Culture of Industrial Research in Architecture

Nini Leimand, Anne Beim


A researching architect based in the building industry and affiliated with a PhD program in an architectural school rooted in a Fine Arts tradition is a rather novel phenomenon in Denmark. The first project was in 20052008 in a collaboration between CINARK the Centre for Industrialized Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture and the industrial partners, Wienerberger AG (insulating ceramic blocks) and Maxit A/S (mortar/plaster).

As the first of its kind, the terminology, the theoretical framework, the methodologies, the very type of knowledge and the research culture all had to be defined from scratch. And due to the expected commercial output, the contents had to be defined, protected and managed by the PhD student in ways unusual to academic research.

Based on critical analyses of first-hand experiences, notebooks, half-yearly reports and minutes from meetings with supervisors, the article discusses a new culture of industrial research in architecture. Questions asked are: Who defines the research standards in industrial research? How can industrial research lead to original findings when topics are negotiated with the business partners who are driven by commercial logics? How can industrial research enhance academic knowledge production without compromising it?

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