PhD defence

PhD Defence: Textiles in the Material Practice of Architects

Tuesday 07 Jan 14


Torben Anker Lenau
Associate Professor
DTU Mechanical Engineering
+4545 25 48 11

Elisabeth Heimdal Wærsted defends her PhD "Textiles in the Material Practice of Architects – Opportunities, Challenges and Ways of Stimulating Use" Monday 20. January at 13:00. The defence takes places at DTU, Building 421, room 74.

The dissertation reports on a design research project about textiles in the material practice of architects. Targeting practicing architects, its aim is to understand how textiles are currently part of their material practice, factors influencing their use and non-use of textiles, and how awareness of their benefits may be raised.

Based on Donald Schön’s view of design as reflective practice, material practice is defined as how architects work with, choose and apply materials. The project answers the following three research questions: 1) How are textiles currently used by architects? 2) Which challenges to the use of textiles in architecture can be found in the material practice of architects? 3) How can the use of textiles in architecture be stimulated?

To reach the overall aim, the project integrates literature from material science, engineering design, textile engineering and design, as well as architecture, and conducts empirical studies using first face-to-face interviews with practicing architects and then workshop-based experiments with architecture students.

The experiments show that by experimenting with representations of textiles, materials that exhibit and imitate properties of textiles, and physical samples of actual textiles, awareness and understanding increase, and ultimately stimulate architects’ use of textiles.

Core contributions include discussions of the definition of textiles in the context of architecture and of the place of textiles in material classifications as well as a number of interactive experiments that may easily be conducted by architectural firms, contributing with new knowledge on how the use of textiles may be increased among architects.

Supervisor: Torben Lenau, DTU

Co-supervisor: Eva Brandt, Kunstakademiets Designskole