Why is reflection on the design process important? I think it is fairly clear that reflecting on one’s design process develops an understanding of how ideas and solutions evolve and ultimately why the end result is the way it is. Different processes will unavoidably provide differing ideas and solutions (although there is some overlap and this is not to say that different processes can’t give rise to the same idea) and understanding and evolving this process develops progress and intelligence.
So, the benefit or reason for reflection is clear but how to reflect or knowing how to evolve a process for the better is more difficult to realise. Like design itself the details of the end product are often unclear and it’s through the steps taken along the way, the trials, the failures, the successes that the picture takes shape and form. That is, through an open mind one might look to use new methods simply because they are new and to observe the results and apply critical thinking to filter their potential. Thus they can be either added to or discarded from the design process tool belt.
In the end an architect’s own design process must be a result of their experience and knowledge and evolution of their process comes from expansion of this experience and knowledge. And so to remain open, to consider things which the subconscious might automatically discard it is important not to identify too much with one’s own process but to recognise that it’s present form is transient and that in 10 weeks or 10 ten years it might and probably will be completely different. So, to say that my style is ‘X’ or that I do things ‘this’ way is certainly true but that person must be willing to discard those styles or methods if in a future problem some alternate style or method leads to a better solution.
This, to me seems to be the benefit of reflection and development of the design process but to successfully carry it through is a difficult task and a continual one and as I’m still a student I have little experience with this evolution and perhaps these ideas that I’ve discussed are misguided but I am willing to discard them if and when better ones become apparent.