Human Studies

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 533–563 | Cite as

Assessing the Realization of Intention: The Case of Architectural Education

Empirical Study/Analysis


The present study provides an ethnomethodologically informed respecification of intention in the context of architectural education. The analyses focus on the ways in which participants deal with the relation between formulations of intention and designed objects. Claimed mismatches between stated intention and design make relevant instructional sequences elaborating alternative ways of understanding the design and possible routes by which articulated intentions could have been realized. The practice of topicalizing intentions appears to be a technique by which aspects of architectural competence are made visible and instructed. In particular, the practice makes otherwise unattended aspects of the design process accountably available for assessment and remark. Furthermore, the complexities of architectural consequence in relation to individual design decisions are addressed as an instructional matter. The study expands existing work on intention ascription and avowal by examining a setting where participants deal with the intentional status of designed objects. It is argued that the analyzed assessment sequences are shaped and organized with reference to the particularities of architectural knowledge as well as to the educational character of the activity. Their basic logic, however, is grounded in ordinary understandings of action and intentionality.


Intention Assessment Architecture Education Instruction Ethnomethodology 



The Swedish Research Council and the Learning and Media Technology Studio at the University of Gothenburg have financially supported this project. Additional support has been provided by the LinCS Centre of Excellence at the same university. I would like to thank Aug Nishizaka, Domenic Berducci, Keith Murphy, Christian Greiffenhagen, Oskar Lindwall, and Jonas Ivarsson for discussing the topics and data of the study and for commenting on earlier drafts. In addition, comments from the editor and two anonymous reviewers have been very helpful.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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