Designing in the absence of sight: Design
cognition re-articulated -- Ann Heylighen and Greg Nijs, KU Leuven, Department of Architecture,
Research[x]Design, Kasteelpark Arenberg
1/2431, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium

Starting from the study of an architect who designs in the absence of sight, we
question to what extent prevailing notions of design may be complemented with
alternative articulations. In doing so, we point to the cognitivist understanding of
human cognition underlying design researchers’ strong attention to ‘visual
thinking’, and contrast this with more situated understandings of human
cognition. The ontological and epistemological differences between both raise
questions about how design research is produced, and consequently what design
can also be. By accounting for how a blind architect re-articulates prevailing
notions of design, we invite researchers to keep the discussion open and call for
an ontological and epistemological re-articulation in design research.

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