Research Through Design – quo vadis?

As part of the ECLAS conference in collaboration with Wageningen University a workshop on the topic of Research Through Design will be offered. The workshop gives junior and senior academics and the practitioners a chance to discuss and share their experiences.

Organizer: Wageningen University, Landscape Architecture group

Time slot: Monday 12.9.2022, 16.15-18.00 hrs

Registration: At the registration desk at the conference (20 slots available).

Short description

We observe an increasing demand in practice for designers who are equipped with research and ‘Research through Design’ skills in academia and the professional field. As landscape architecture schools we need to cater for this demand and develop common didactic frameworks accordingly. To start exchanging ideas and definitions on Research through Design we organise a workshop on this topic.

Long description

Before design decisions are taken, a thorough investigation accompanied by detailed quantification of effects becomes the ‘new normal’. Hence, designers need to have ever more sophisticated research skills in order to generate products, prototype designs or design guidelines. The increasing demand for designers equipped with research and ‘research through design’ skills has been highlighted in the professional press and by the fact that large landscape architecture offices (e.g. West8, H+N+S) have started to attract staff with research competences. Unfortunately, many schools in landscape architecture have not yet broadly addressed this new specialization. Schools that offer education on research and Research through Design often interpret ‘research’ and ‘design’ inconsistently. This is detrimental to developing common standards and curricula that meet the new requirements in landscape architecture practice and academia. To start exchanging ideas and discuss definitionsof Research through Design we propose to organise a workshop on this topic.


1. Inspiration phase: short introduction on RTD (15 mins), presentations of two exemplary types of Research Through Design projects, (15 minutes each, 30 min total)

2. Inventory phase: we will ask participants to write down their ideas about Research Through Design on post-its with respect to the following topics: a) possible fields of application, b) specific methods, c) test/evaluation criteria for design options, d) typical outcomes (10 minutes)

3. Discussion phase: we will arrange the post-its from the previous phase according to focuses in opinions or recurrent keywords regarding topics a) – d) under 2. (40 minutes)

4. Conclusion phase: we will draw conclusions from the post-it inventory/discussions and present ideas for an continued exchange on RTD. (10 minutes)