Educational ideals vs. architectural expression : the genesis of building excellence




Vaughan, Brenda Sisco

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Brenda Sisco Vaughan, Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 2011

Supervisor: William F. Lasher

How education is articulated, understood or comprehended, in the vocabulary (i.e. the expressive techniques or devices) of architecture provokes a certain fascination and intrigue for those interested in methods of pedagogy and cognition at institutions of higher education. This research entered the discussion about architectural expression in the university setting with a focus on the educational aspects in the programming, planning, and design of new buildings on campus. Educational ideals refer to concepts of perfection or models of excellence at institutions of higher education. Architectural expression refers to design or the determination of form which includes every aspect of every quality of a building (size, shape, materials, texture, color, ornamentation, etc.), while supporting the function and intended use of the building. This research examined the processes by which educational ideals translate into architectural expression. Analyses of the processes or systems used in planning and designing new buildings provided data to understand influences on the system. Qualitative data were analyzed in this study from a systems point of view utilizing Interactive Qualitative Analysis, IQA methodology. Following IQA protocol, the problem of how educational ideals translate into architectural expression produced and named the factors (affinities) influencing the processes on university campuses; identified relationships between these factors in cause-and-effect terms; provided the forum to compare and contrast similarities and differences in the systems; and identified similarities and differences in the processes utilized in planning and designing new buildings at private vs. public institutions. In this study, focus groups of higher education administrators and professional architects explored the case study of The University of Texas at Austin. After the data were analyzed, a theoretical model was produced to explore the case study of Rice University. Research synthesis provides information, guidance, and recommendations for educational administrators and professional architects in leadership and decision-making roles guiding the direction of new building projects on campuses.



LCSH Subject Headings