The Cultural Dimension of Design

Design is an endeavor that aims at creating useful artifacts for people and communities. Designers express their social and cultural background in their designs. People on the other hand receive and perceive these artifacts based on their social and cultural background. In today’s globalized world, where the boundaries between nations and cultures have vanished, designers from different parts of the world offer their services to clients in different parts of the world. Understanding the inter-relationships between cultures and the physical environment is not an easy task since they are always evaluated based on one’s own cultural values. The culture of design encompasses both the culture of the designer and the culture of users. This understanding advances the design quality by improving current knowledge-base of design practices. We should investigate ways of understanding the cultural dimension of design using multi-disciplinary approaches to understand the design problem context. Architectural design is a discipline that involves designers and users from different parts of the world or from different sub-culture groups. Many architectural design examples consider the cultural dimension of the design, the designer and the end user. While the physical environment, site conditions, economic limitations, users’ needs and technology are common challenges for the designer, the cultural context of design poses a greater challenge. I argue that failing to achieve culturally acceptable designs results in the dissatisfaction of the end users regardless of the success in solving other design challenges.


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