Amira El Nokaly, Ahmed El Seragy, Sarah Al Saadani



Can creative forms enclose functionally-efficient spaces? Do functional considerations restrict creative design products?

The question of creative form versus function is one that is very debatable, and has been in question for a long time in both architectural education and practice. Milestone figures of architecture all have their different views on what comes first, form or functional spaces. They also vary in their definitions of creativity. Apparently, creativity is very strongly related to ideas and how they can be generated. It is also correlated with the process of thinking and developing. Creative products, whether architectural or otherwise, and whether tangible or intangible, are originated from ‘good ideas.’ On one hand, not any idea, or any good idea, can be considered creative but, on the other hand, any creative result can be traced back to a good idea that initiated it in the beginning (Goldschmit and Tatsa, 2005).

However, how can a good idea be classified, which ideas are useful and helpful, and how can they be characterized, are main questions that this research work aims to answer. This paper attempts to discuss and compare various, and often opposing, viewpoints of both students and teaching staff, at the possibility of striking a balance between exciting forms and functional precision in the design studio. The research examines the conflict that students often face when assigned with a design project, and the difficulties they experience in translating theoretical and fundamentally-important data into a novel architectural interpretation. Furthermore, the investigation aims at relating the continuous, nonlinear process of review and modifi cation, customary to traditional design-studio approaches, to the final products students submit as part of their design-studio applications. The final issue in question is the role of criticism and assessment in the forms of juries or crits, assessment criteria, and whether this traditional aspect of design-studio education truly provides architectural students with the constructive criticism they need amid feelings of tension and limited time constraints. The Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design department at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST) is exploit as a case study for the research work presented in this paper.


Creativity; functional-efficiency; constructive criticism

Full Text:



Casakin, H. P. (2007). Factors of Metaphors in Design Problem-Solving: Implications for Design Creativity. International Journal of Design. Vol. 1(2), pp.21- 33.

Chafee, R. (1997). The Teaching of Architecture at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts. In A. Drexler (ed.); The Architecture of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

Clelford, T. and Hopkins, A. (2006). Moderation Without Tears. Transactions, CEBE- Centre for Education in the Built Environment, Cardiff, UK, Vol. 3(1), pp.84 - 94 .

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Creativity-Flow and Its Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Harper Perennial, New York, USA.

Eikongraphia (2008), Dubai 8; Dubai Towers [Web Page]. Accessed 2008 Jun. Available at:

Elseragy, A and Elnokaly, A. (2007), The Infl uence of Self Appraisal and International Boards Validation Processes upon the Architectural Education in the Arab Region; 24th Engineering Conference, Engineering Education in Arab World, Amman, Jordan, 14-17 May 2007.

Fisher, T. (2004). Architects Behaving Badly: Ignoring Environmental Behavior Research, Harvard Design Magazine. 21, sher.pdf; accessed December 2007.

Goldschmit, G. and Tatsa, D.( 2005). How Good Are Good Ideas? Correlates of Design Creativity, Design Studies, Vol. 26, pp. 593- 611.

Haddad, E. A. (2006). Theoretical Speculations and the Design Studio, Proceedings of the Changing Trends in Architectural Design Education, CSAAR 2006. Rabat, Morocco.

Hadjri, K. (2003). Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Digital Models in Architectural Design Studios. International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. XXXIV-5/W10 (Tarasp, Switzerland., 24-28 Feb).

Heap, J. (1989). The Management of Innovation and Design, Cassell, London, United Kingdom.

Lizor, B. D. (2006). Balancing Jury Critique in Design Reviews, Transactions, CEBE- Centre for Education in the Built Environment, Cardiff, UK, Vol. 3(2), pp. 52 - 79.

Morrow, R., Parnell, R. and Torrington, J. (2004). Reality versus Creativity? Transactions, CEBE- Centre for Education in the Built Environment, Cardiff, UK, Vol. 1(2), pp. 91- 99.

Robinson, S. (2007). Peer Assisted Learning Within Architecture: the Methods and Benefi ts. Transactions, CEBE- Centre for Education in the Built Environment, Cardiff, UK, Vol. 4(2), pp. 45-53.

Salama, A. (1995). New Trends in Architectural Education: Designing the Design Studio, Tailored Text and Unlimited Potential Publishing, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Salama, A. (2005). “A Process Oriented Design Pedagogy: KFUPM Sophmore Studio,” Transactions, CEBE- Centre for Education in the Built Environment, Cardiff, UK, Vol. 2(2), pp.16 - 31.

Salama, A. (2008), A Theory for Integrating Knowledge in Architectural Design Education. Archnet-IJAR, International Journal of Architectural Research. 2008 Mar; Vol. 2 (1), pp: 100-128.

Schon, D. A. (1985). The Design Studio: An Exploration of Its Traditions and Potentials, RIBA Publications, London,, United Kingdom.

Shih, C. (2004). Between Concept and Form: Learning From Case Studies. Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, Vol. 3(1), pp. 217 - 221.

Smartdeez (2008) Amazing Dubai’s Projects [Web Page], 2008; Accessed 2008 Apr. Available at:

Szalapaj, P. J. and Chang, D. C. (1999). Computer Architectural Presentation: From Physical Models in Space to Virtual Models in Cyberspace, International Journal of Design Sciences and Technology, Vol. 7(1), pp 41- 54.

Tietz, J. (1999). The Story of Architecture of the 20th Century, Germany, Konemann Vertagsgellschaft mbH.

Weisberg, W. R. (1993). Creativity Beyond the Myth of Genius, Freeman, London, United Kingdom.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 International Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR


- ISSN (Online) #1938 7806 - ArchNet-IJAR is covered by ArchNet@ MIT Libraries, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCO, CNKI, Pro-Quest, Scopus-Elsevier, Web of Science.

- Published work in ArchNet-IJAR is licensed under Creative Commons: CC-BY--NC-ND license, see

Copyrights © Archnet-IJAR 2007-2018


Hit Counter
Visitor Hits Since 15 Jan 2014