Germinant design practice : a do-it-yourself narrative

Smith, Catherine Dorothy (2008) Germinant design practice : a do-it-yourself narrative. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

PDF (22MB)


This thesis is concerned with architectural and design practitioners involved in areas outside of their training: specifically, with the way designers embrace a do-it-yourself or DIY ethic to create experimental, ephemeral, collaborative environments not usually considered “architecture” in the professional sense. This happens because they become directly involved with a variety of methods, construction activities, project types and materials normally associated with amateur building. The thesis does not aim to contribute to more comprehensive solutions for architectural production (say, commercial practice), but rather focuses on a particular production opportunity. It attempts to draw forth qualities of process, practice and conceptualisation that are of relevance to architecture and could be the basis of future exploration in architecture. With this intent, this thesis outlines a conceptual explanation for why these designers sometimes background their training in, and knowledge of, building procurement, in favour of amateur building activities. This design approach raises questions about the way architecture is understood, discussed and practiced. In philosophy and architectural theory, architecture is usually described as a device for ordering and framing the world, an opposition to the unfolding, unpredictable process of the evolving, natural world. Yet there are things that some designer-maker-inhabitants do in practice to thwart their environmental control and influence, thus introducing a degree of unpredictability into projects. This unusual design approach has the potential to inform discussions about architecture and architectural practice beyond this thesis. There is a plethora of technical information about DIY in the popular media, yet little investigation of how professionally-trained designers creatively engage with DIY. The experimental approach to building and space studied in this research is different to self-building or simple DIY because it does not adhere to a set of design plans or set approaches. This approach is also different to outsider architecture or vernacular building because it is initiated by people with design knowledge and training, even if they put aside some of their knowledge. To clarify this latter approach to architecture and space, the research describes a space of blurring between professional and non-professional building, architectural control and spontaneity; a space of germinant practice, based on the precepts and proposals manifest in germinant philosophy. The thesis includes speculations about ways to encourage germinancy in design practice. This practice-led study involved preliminary fieldwork studies through critical analysis of my own, and others, sitespecific installation art practice. These preliminary studies led to two major fieldwork projects in Brisbane: both are homes to artists and architecturally- trained designers working outside of commercial, professional practice.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

297 since deposited on 25 Mar 2009
44 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 19153
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Franz, Jill M.
Keywords: germinant design practice, Deleuze & Guattari, do-it-yourself, site-specific installation art, experimental making
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Mar 2009 05:32
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2011 13:53

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page