An Inclusive Framework for Design Intentionality in the Age of Computation

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Tüntaş Şerbetçi D.

MSTAS 2023 DEVİNİM.DEĞİŞİM.DÖNGÜ XVII. Mimarlıkta Sayısal Tasarım Ulusal Sempozyumu, İstanbul, Turkey, 17 - 20 June 2023, pp.40-59

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.40-59
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Technological developments and complexity paradigms altered the design tools and methodologies, which expanded the intellectual landscape of designers and architecture’s disciplinary boundaries. These tools have also unbalanced the long-established anthropocentric account of design intentionality. This condition requires confronting the intricacies of contemporary technological and ontological contexts. In response to these challenges, this paper identifies design intentionality as an unquestioned concept in architectural design research. It reinstates a discussion in the age of computation with its presumptions and disciplinary entanglements. This study offers a conceptual framework to address an inclusive account of intentionality in the field of computational architecture. In doing that, first, a conceptual elaboration of intentionality is provided in computational design research. With a techno-social concern, the paper looks at the ideas related to the concept in the philosophy, anthropology, and cognitive sciences. Then, for an inclusive model, the concept of intentionality is dismantled and augmented with the notions of “agency” and “action.” Finally, a distributed form of design intentionality is proposed with a spectrum that illustrates different intensities and conditions which can address the coexistence of human and nonhuman agencies in the decision-making processes. The paper concludes by claiming the design process as a collaborative space of synthesis, a field that extends within the agentic capabilities of both the designer and the algorithmic agency, human and nonhuman. The study contributes to the theoretical literature and discourse of architecture which lacks a meaningful discussion or meticulous research of the concept on its own terms, mainly because the notion of intentionality is placed at the hard core of the profession as the dominant approach grounds itself in recognition of the mastermind of the architect. An inclusive framework for design intentionality can provide a new perspective on the ethics and collaboration in computational design.