Mind the Gap: Reconciling Formalism and Intuitionism in Computational Design Research


  • Zeynep Mennan




The paper discusses the epistemological and methodological implications of an increasing process of formalisation and naturalisation of knowledge within the context of the complexity paradigm. This process is argued to induce a shift in the nature of notations and representations, to which corresponds an epistemic shift from a graphic to a computational rationality, with substantial effects on current design methodologies and strategies used in computational design. The shortcomings of a heavy formalism are discussed with respect to a possible reconciliation between the operational efficiency of formalist representations and the recovery of the phenomenological grounds of design experimentations through a simultaneous articulation of formalist and intuitionist approaches in computational design research.

Author Biography

Zeynep Mennan

Zeynep Mennan is an architect, theorist and design critic. She has researched, published and lectured at major institutions and leading conferences in Europe, the USA and Australia. In 2003, she co-curated the ‘Non Standard Architectures’ exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Her fields of interest include the epistemology and aesthetics of computational design. At METU, she currently teaches architectural design as well as graduate and doctoral courses in architectural theory, research, epistemology and computational design theory.