Building (Trans)Disciplinary Architectural Research - Introducing Mode 1 and Mode 2 to Design Practitioners
Book chapter, 2011

The chapter discusses Mode 1 and Mode 2 forms of knowledge production from the perspective of the authors’ practice as educators at a doctoral level for PhD students based in the practice of architecture, design and the arts. It builds on a series of lectures and seminars which have explored the potential of transdisciplinarity and Mode 2 knowledge production for practitioners in various design professions, and focused on various existing “knowledge landscapes” as well as on the more recent developments with regard to emerging new modes of knowledge production. The article attempts to grasp the meta-level issues of a new mode of knowledge production and the opportunities it brings with regard to design research. It discusses the development of architectural research during the last four decades together with the essential features of Mode 1 and Mode 2, and tries to relate these features to contemporary architectural and design theory, and various practices in architecture and urban design. As the “scaffold” for constructing this chapter, the authors propose to discuss, firstly, the Scandinavian development of the doctoral scholarship in architecture, and secondly, the international debates that have constituted the backcloth of this development with regard to the three major modes of knowledge production: monodisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity. Knowledge production in the area of transdisciplinarity and creative practice was previously seen as outside of research and scholarship, while developments of the last decade have made it possible to conceptualise the knowledge field of design and architecture in new ways. An inclusive model of research is emerging where more practice-based approaches are possible, and it is beginning to achieve academic recognition as well as vital interest from practitioners.


Fredrik Nilsson

Chalmers, Architecture

Halina Dunin-Woyseth von Turow

Chalmers, Architecture

Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production in Architecture and Urbanism. Towards Hybrid Modes of Inquiry

978-94-007-0103-8 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering


Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship





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