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Outstanding Architectural Design

Part 1 Dissertation 2004
Matthew Hynam
University of the West of England | UK
The aim of this research paper is to investigate design criteria that architects and planners believe contribute to outstanding architectural design -- and establish whether the two professions hold differing views.

The method used for discerning what constitutes “outstanding architectural design” was the evaluation of four proposals for houses in the open country submitted for planning consent under PPG 7 (Planning Policy Guidance Note 7). These houses have to meet the criteria of being ‘…outstanding in terms of architecture and landscape design’ (DETR. 1997).

The research paper found that the both architects and planners use a set of “criteria” (including scale, height, layout, landscape design, context, craftsmanship, quality of materials, innovative design, successful dialogue and detail) to try to capture the idea of outstanding architectural design. The design criteria for outstanding design were the same for both architects and planners. The author concludes that for something to be considered outstanding it must meet most or all of the criteria but must also have some extra dimension, which the he could only describe as the “wow factor”.

Matthew Hynam

Matthew graduates this year with a first degree in architecture and planning. He chose to focus in his research paper on the slippery issue of architectural quality. He considered this both from the point of view of the architectural designer who is concerned to make a creative response to the needs and tastes of a client within the context of his/her own aesthetic position and the point of view of the planner who must interpret the design in relation to national and local planning policy. An intriguing study that illustrates the pitfalls of attempting to legislate for design excellence.

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