The Roots of System-Oriented Design

Format: Papers, RSD9, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Birger Sevaldson

Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norway


Systems Oriented Design (SOD) draws on different sources. It is based on an experimental designerly practice for complexity that did not originally have strong ties to systems theories. The main component of this practice was the innovative use of visualization for dealing with complexity. Visualization is found in different variations in all design fields. To limit the discussion, however, we need to exclude many aspects of design visualization to get to the core of the issue: designing for complexity. The many different strategies for visualization in design are found in two groups that are less central to the discussion in this book: 1) visualisations of design visions and 2) solutions and information visualisation. Though both are important for communicating the results of a SOD process, we are more interested in looking at visualisations that are closely related to the generative learning and design process. This means visualisation as high-level processual tools, methods, and conceptual frameworks. Another framing of the subject is made by mainly excluding the figurative design sketches commonly found in any generative design process. This mode of generative sketching will only be discussed as secondary issues. 




Citation Data

Author(s): Author: Birger Sevaldson
Title: The Roots of System-Oriented Design
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
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Symposium Dates:
First published: 4 October 2020
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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


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