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This study examines the use of analogy in architectural design. Its main goal is to provide an understanding of how experts and novices alike use visual analog thinking to generate satisfactory solutions during their design process. A series of controlled experiments was conducted to examine how this cognitive strategy contributes in improving the resolution of design problems in each group of participants in our experiment. Students and architects were asked to solve a set of unusual design problems, were stimulated by exposure to visual images, and were given explicit instructions for using the analogy.
The results show that novices and experts are able to reason by visual analogy and use deep analogies. It has been found that experts identify and recover analogies from out-of-domain images. Novices, however, identify a large number of out-of-domain images, but recover the analogies of out-of-domain and out-domain images to the same extent. Novices, unlike experts, do not add constraints to the initial design problem, but produce a large number of solutions. These results have important implications for the teaching of the architectural project.
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