Language and Design: Discourse among Subcultures in the Field of Architecture

41 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2011 Last revised: 19 Nov 2014

See all articles by Robert Edgell

Robert Edgell

SUNY Polytechnic Institute; University of St. Gallen; Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Peter Kimmich

GDF SUEZ Energy Latin America

Date Written: November 18, 2014


Our paper discusses language as it relates to intercultural change. It explores how language shapes and forms the interaction between various subcultures, especially business managers, engineers (problem solving creativity), and artistically creative professionals (problem finding creativity). Specifically, it focuses on dialogues among the various relevant subcultures that may or may not participate in the Architectural process. Our deconstructed architectural literature, a partner activity and a role play in the context of Architecture, indicated that filtering and controlling dialogs may, in general, be very important to Architects who may use language in a manner that does not share voice and allow other subcultures to be heard. Observations of the role play give a new impression of how communication on teams develops. Originally, we believed that many team challenges flowed from “misunderstandings” that occur during group interaction (i.e., the problem framed is one of “understanding” or “misunderstanding”). However, through our exploration of language in action, we now conclude that a new problem frame is appropriate. Our reconstructed problem statement suggests that challenges in team or group dynamics flow from certain decisions that are co-constructed through team dialogues. Our reconstructed problem frame for group dynamics now focuses on awareness of the seven metaphors. We conclude the paper with recommendations for team communication and future research.

Keywords: Change; design; creativity; innovation; Architecture; buildings, communites, deconstruction; interpretive; narrative; power; reflexive; subcultures; communication; discourse; information; knowledge; transparency

Suggested Citation

Edgell, Robert and Kimmich, Peter, Language and Design: Discourse among Subcultures in the Field of Architecture (November 18, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Robert Edgell (Contact Author)

SUNY Polytechnic Institute ( email )

100 Seymour Road
Utica, NY NY 13502
United States

University of St. Gallen

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Peter Kimmich

GDF SUEZ Energy Latin America ( email )

Av Almirante Barroso 52
andar 14
Rio de Janeiro, RI Rio de Janeiro 20031-000

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