New architectural criticism: How to separate the Wheat from the Chaff in Interdisciplinary Design Research

Suzanne Ewing, Igea Troiani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As co-editors-in-chief of the interdisciplinary, international journal Architecture and Culture, we aim in this essay to examine the space of architectural criticism in the review process of architectural publication. Using our experience as editors, we examine how the assessment criteria for research – objectivity, reliability, validity – impact on our ambition to create a rigorous space that is not only interdisciplinary but also transdisciplinary and ‘undisciplinary’ (Marshall and Bleeker in Rodgers and Smyth eds., 2010: 219) in what constitutes writing about architecture and culture. Building upon the writings of Elizabeth Grosz (2001: xv) who argues for the production of a positive ‘third space’ between disciplines, and Julia Kristeva (in Coles and Defert eds., 1997: 1-22) who identifies a hesitation to embrace interdisicplinarity within institutions, we propose that in order to facilitate true interdisciplinary architectural research we need to re-evaluate our refereeing culture, assessment criteria, and author-reviewer-editor relations to challenge established methods of reviewing design research. We discuss our decision to modify standard referee forms in order to engender positive and more open assessment of design research that may expand the disciplinary confines. In light of the flagged decline of architectural criticism as public activity and in public discourse, we set out the formulations and evolutions of architectural criticism and its influence on architectural thought and practice. We propose the growth of a more consolidated, positive, but possibly hesitant, ‘third space’ (Grosz, 2001: xv) of history-theory-design- criticism inside architectural publishing, which may contribute to constructing and influencing new public ‘outsides’ of interdisciplinary design research.

Paper subsequently developed as an article: submitted to Journal of Architecture summer 2016, peer reviewed with revisions suggested

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Value of Design Research
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
EditorsLouise Valentine, Brigitte Borja de Mozota, Julien Nelson, Sevi Merter, Paul Atkinson
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherSheffield Hallam University
ISBN (Print)978-1-84387-393-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event11th European Academy of Design conference - Paris Descartes University Institute of Psychology, Paris, France
Duration: 22 Apr 201524 Apr 2015


Conference11th European Academy of Design conference


  • architectural design research
  • new architectural criticism
  • peer review


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