From Goal-Oriented to Constraint-Oriented Design: The Cybernetic Intersection of Design Theory and Systems Theory

  title={From Goal-Oriented to Constraint-Oriented Design: The Cybernetic Intersection of Design Theory and Systems Theory},
  author={Thomas Fischer and Laurence Richards},
ABSTRACT This article traces the changing notions of constraints in design and of systems since the mid-20th century in the intersection of design theory and systems theory. Taking a second-order cybernetic perspective, the article develops constraints as observer dependent and it analyzes conditions under which constraints tend to be beneficial or detrimental. Ethical implications of constraints in design processes are established with reference to system boundaries. Constraint-oriented design… 

An Introduction to Design Cybernetics

Since it ascended in the mid-twentieth century on the basis of technical and scientific advances made during World War II, cybernetics has influenced design theory and research. It was appreciated by

Design research as a variety of second-order cybernetic practice

Context: The relationship between design and science has shifted over recent decades. One bridge between the two is cybernetics, which offers perspectives on both in terms of their practice. From

Cybernetics and Society Redux: The Necessity of Design

Norbert Wiener warned us to avoid the potential application of cybernetics to the production of technologies of oppression – that is, we need to design structures and processes in which violence is

A cybernetic perspective on determinability and design research

The proposed framework connects the Navigation between deterministic observables and determining observers to the navigation between the design criteria form, meaning and utility and contributes to the establishment of observational determinability as observer-dependent.

Design cybernetics in support of cross-disciplinary collaboration: educating the next generation of Chinese architects and structural engineers

Looking on the education of architects and structural engineers in China, the paper examines how compatible approaches to design can be established in both disciplines and presents an educational approach to support cross-disciplinary collaboration that has value in and beyond the context of China.

Constructing Cybernetic Thinking, Design, and Education

  • C. Herr
  • Art
    Design Research Foundations
  • 2019
Radical constructivism can be described as the epistemological twin of second-order cybernetics. This chapter presents a close look at radical constructivism, at its implications for design, and at

Aspects of our shared interests

A brief mapping of eight intersections between cybernetics and CAAD, covering design cognition, design computing, design process, design management, design production, design outcomes, design research and design values, is presented.

A Theory of (and for) Enquiry

At the heart of much academic design research lies a paradox: An appreciation of designing requires, systemically speaking, an inside perspective, while scientific research requires robustness under

Wicked Problems in Design and Ethics

While the relationship between ethics and design is usually thought of in terms of the application of the former to the latter, it is not as if ethics is a settled body of theory that can

Synergy in the systemic approach to architectural performance

The article presents SAAP’s relations to process-based fields and their media and concludes with their integration and synergy in a ‘Real Life Co-Design Laboratory’ where collaborative and collective processes are seen as the resulting design objects.



The purpose of second‐order cybernetics

It is shown that (and in consequence how) the notion of goal and purpose must be radically reconsidered in second‐order Cybernetic systems.

The Value of being Unmanageable : Variety and Creativity in CyberSpace

Complexity is examined in the context of Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety, and systems are shown to rapidly reach transcomputability, at which point they become uncontrollable. The circular notion of

Dilemmas in a general theory of planning

The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail, becuase of the nature of these problems. They are “wicked” problems, whereas science has developed to deal

Re-searching Design and Designing Research

When Design Research began, say in the 1960s, the eventual success of science was assumed and Architects (a significant subdivision of designers) were determined to become scientific: the syllabus was changed and design science was invented.

Solving Form-Making Problems Using Shape Algebras and Constraint Satisfaction

This paper reviews the current work on shape grammars in design and suggests that considerable gains can be achieved by integrating shape grammar based design approaches with distributed constraint-based problem solving.

(Meta)systems as constraints on variation— a classification and natural history of metasystem transitions

A new conceptual framework is proposed to situate and integrate the parallel theories of Turchin, Powers, Campbell and Simon, and distinguishes two classes of metasystems from supersystems and other types of emergent phenomena.

The Universe of Design: Horst Rittel's Theories of Design and Planning

Prologue Part 1: Foundations 1.1. Reflections On The Scientific And Political Significance Of Decision Theory 1.2. Science and Design Seminars: Introduction 1.3. Seminar 1: Modes of Innovation 1.4.

Design enigma: A typographical metaphor for epistemological processes, including designing

  • T. Fischer
  • Mathematics
    Proceedings of the 17th Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA)
  • 2012
Presenting a hard-to-predict typography-varying system predicated on Nazi-era cryptography, this paper illustrates conditions under which unrepeatable phenomena can arise, even from straight-forward

Connecting Radical Constructivism to Social Transformation and Design

Purpose: This paper intends to connect ideas from the radical constructivist approach to cognition and learning to ideas from the constraint-theoretic approach to social policy formulation. It then…

General system theory : foundations, development, applications

Keywords: Systeme ; systemique ; theorie Reference Record created on 2005-06-20, modified on 2016-08-08