A Framework for Learning
: Typology and the Design Studio

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


In the architectural design process, built precedent can be a valuable resource to shape design situations. Typology, the systematic categorisation of precedent, can act as a means to interpret this information and identify relationships between existing buildings and new design. This thesis explores the link between typology and the design process and asks how typological thinking may benefit novice designers in the context of the architectural design studio.The research conceptually synthesises theories of typology with design methods to provide a practical framework for the application of typology in design studio teaching. Adopting a stage-based model of design, underpinned by the Critical Method as a description of individual design cycles, the framework offers a means of guiding project decisions, encouraging ideation and accessing information embedded in design precedents.The research is exploratory in nature and adopts a mixed methodology approach to develop and test the proposed framework. An experimental study examines the role of typology in design heuristics whilst participant observation is used to develop and refine the typological framework. This is supported by data gathered from case studies, individual feedback, structured interviews and questionnaires.The typological learning framework is supported by the results of the research and considers various interpretations of typology at each stage in the design process, analytical processes required and practical guidance for designers and educators.
Date of Award23 Nov 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Emmitt (Supervisor) & Alexander Copping (Supervisor)


  • Typology
  • Design Studio
  • Architectural education
  • Critical Method

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