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USING METAPHOR AND ANALOGY FOR UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURAL CONCEPTS IN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION; AN IRANIAN PERSPECTIVE

Abstract
By : Amir Sasan Hadian

 
By using two cognitive tools, metaphors and analogies, structural concepts can be made more observable and touchable for architects. These tools can help architects and designers to physically demonstrate structural concepts for better understanding. Since familiarity with the structural concepts is imperative for architects, it is important to determine the extent in which architects sharpen and solidify their understanding of structural concept using two very valuable cognitive tools, metaphors and analogies. Although in recent years, the number of studies focusing on the usage of metaphor and analogy was on the rise, very few works have included views and opinions of correspondent users in the architectural domain. Furthermore, having both metaphor and analogy under one investigation could help the researcher to see which one, metaphor or analogy, professional architects prefer to use more and which one of them architects use in various stages in their design process. In this regard, purposive sampling was applied to collect the data from ten professional Iranian architects who had the experience of working in this domain for more than 10 years. The participants of this study went through a semi-structured interview and their reports were analysed qualitatively. The findings reveal that while designing, Iranian professional architects do not have any preferences because they can equally apply both metaphors and analogies, but when dealing with their students in academic setting, using metaphor as a cognitive tool can lead to better results. Furthermore, Iranian architects use metaphor more in the initial stages of the architectural design process because according to them this physiognomic perception enhance understanding of a design situation and stimulate creative solutions to the problem at hand. Conversely, analogy is mainly used in the concept generation phase.
Keywords: Metaphor, Analogy, Design Process, Architectural Education, Structural Concepts.

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