Participant Perspective

Ashton Hill Header
A modular kitset designed for Participant Design

In an industry where success is defined differently by architects and non-architects, communication and interpretation have become fundamental cornerstones in shaping the architectural landscape. This project explores the importance of Participant Design in aiding architectural conversation and investigates how it can be utilised to empower all stakeholders to be a part of the design process.

Participant Perspective is a critical exploration concerning the facilitation and support of Participant Design in architecture, utilising hands-on design and encouraging a clear dialogue in what has become an exclusive and closed-off profession. When Participant Design can be employed and encouraged, it is reduced to use in practices such as surveying and strategic participation, both of which offer minimal contribution to architectural practices. It can also be seen as simply a means to appease to the masses and dictate the client’s involvement. 

This thesis explores and critiques the many processes of Participant Design, exploring their merits and shortcomings.This is in an attempt to design a system whereby architects and non-architects can collaborate and communicate, thus allowing the emergence of architecture that better reflects the identity and desires of its inhabitants. 

The self-build complex - a framework for Participant Design
Different residential and commercial spaces for the complex were designed through the use of Participant Design modular kitsets
Participant Design experiment results

The theoretical and conceptual research utilised in this study is an exploration and commentary on the abilities of both the architect and non-architect to visualise, create identity and observe their behaviour in the process of design. 

Key findings are derived from a number of experiments that encourage various participants with different backgrounds to design and visualise their own concepts using pre-fabricated physical models as tools. Furthermore, a number of case studies focusing on collaborative architecture and thinking are analysed and further informed by the theoretical writings of theorists such as Foucault and Rudosfky. 

The experiments and research culminate in a design solution that offers a system which not only redefines the roles of the architect and non-architect, but in addition allows both parties the opportunity to express their ideas and contribute to architecture in a meaningful way.  

The self-build complex
Example plans for the three frameworks in the self-build complex
Westhaven Marina site plan
Exploded axonometric of the residential tower framework