As I was reading Rowe’s designers in action I noted the argument that he was making. His intent here was to “fashion a generalized portrait of design thinking,” focusing in the architecture realm and ignoring the “organization and administration of professional activities.” He also makes the argument that he is “concerned with the interior situational logic and the decision-making processes of designers in action as well as with theoretical dimensions that both account for and inform this kind of understanding.” Now, with these sentences in mind, this acts as a lens that Rowe wants us to view his paper from. I’m going to try and unpack what I think these sentences mean because some feel very dense. By “”fashion a generalized portrait of design thinking,” I believe Rowe is making the argument that he will be leaving out many details and that his paper will only focus on the broad strokes of design thinking. After this, Rowe argues that his concern is focused on the interior situational logic. I believe this means that the interior in this case is referring to the mental processes of the designer and with the added words of situational and logic it creates a meaning that he wants to focus on the processes and the decisions that happen during the situation of design.
With that out of the way, Rowe decides to make the choice of using three case studies to examine this interior situational logic. He presents these three case studies as interview sessions to “reconstruct” the process that he coins as “protocol.” He does not intend to represent all the ways of design thinking, but that he chose these three examples because there was enough information on their processes and that their with one another. The first case study focuses on the designer’s intentions and the focus of the designer’s attention. He argues that there exists a sequence from where the design’s attention focuses on a specific aspect of the design and then shifts to another throughout the process. This is interesting because it sounds like that as a designer explores the iterative process he or she can evaluate his or her previous work using the future focuses and move forward through the process.
Rowe’s second case study discusses how constraints were added early in the process and that effort was made toward an ideal of balance and how the design revolved around a focal point that the designer fixed into the process. Rowe’s final case study is titled “Reconciling Two Large Ideas”. It starts with Rowe arguing that the designers “recognized as a potential point of symmetry.” Rowe then argues that after contextual studies were accomplished that a “linear system of buildings and intersitiial spaces would thematically extend Chicago’s grid pattern.” Rowe argues that the designers work with these two themes and that they battle with one another through sketches.
Rowe then mentions other accounts, but these are given less weight because he argues that designer’s process is often private and messy. Originally this blog post started out as a question to ask myself why Rowe chose these three case studies, but as I wrote this blog post, I began to admire his choosing of the three case studies. So I’m not sure where this blog post will stand in the grand scheme of things, but well, it’s here now.