ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  DOCTORAL THESES  |  COLLABORATION OF ARCHITECT AND ENGINEER 
DE | EN
Über die Zusammenarbeit von Architekt und Tragwerksplaner in der konzeptionellen Entwurfsphase
H. Hofmann
2016 -


A Swiss culture of coprofessional teams leading to a subtle integration of structure and architecture: Mursteg, Forsterstrasse, Mulimatt.

Our built environment is characterised by a multitude of often complex and contradictory demands. Over centuries, an increase in knowledge specialisation and the accompanying emergence of various professions in the building industry have helped to cope with the complexity of each demand. Today, teams of different professions in building design foster the alignment of the usually disconnected expertise of its team members towards a greater whole. However, such teams face a high degree of complexity not only in the task that they are asked to accomplish, but also in the fact of working as a team of heterogeneous experts. With only few studies having examined teams of different professions in building design beyond the scope of either a functional, task-oriented description or a case-by-case based listing of relationship-oriented best-practice suggestions, research in this particular field misses an in-depth understanding of the human factors involved in the work of these teams. Hence, teams in this specific domain lack guidance, and they cannot fully develop their potential. This research contributes to overcome these problems by integrating knowledge on teams from social psychology into the exploration of teams in building design. By setting specific focus points in terms of observed professions, time, and geography, and applying a qualitatively driven mixed method research approach including semi-structured interviews, cognitive mapping- interviews, and design meeting observations, this thesis reduces methodological obstacles in research on teams of different professions in building design.

As a result, this dissertation introduces a model for the understanding of team processes in teams of architects and structural engineers working on Swiss architecture competitions. The model builds upon the exploration and description of such processes, thereby relying on a system- oriented view on teams and the distinction between relationship- and task-oriented processes. The model shows that creating a team identity represents the most dominant relationship-oriented process of these teams. Additionally, it is demonstrated that these teams employ five task-oriented macro processes to work on an architecture competition. The thesis also shows that at the time team members are talking about the elements of their team identity, team members are primarily engaged in the macro process of design elaboration and the micro process of idea analysis. Presented applications both outside academia in practice and industry, and inside academia in education and research show the potential of the model to provide suitable knowledge on team processes, in order to guide practitioners, educators and students through their own endeavours when working in or researching about teams - in building design and beyond.

Further links:


Related publications:
Contact of the author:

Using research methods from social psychology in order to study team processes in teams of architects and structural engineers working on Swiss architecture competitions (from left to right: semi-structured interviews, cognitive mapping- interviews, observations of design meetings)



Swiss architecture and structural engineering offices and their team formation in Swiss architecture competitions; data source: konkurado.ch; data time frame: 2014 to 2019; drawing by Hannes Hofmann, 2020



A model for the understanding of team processes in teams of architects and structural engineers working on Swiss architecture competitions, with relationship-oriented process on top, and task-oriented processes on the bottom.

last modified 28.7.2021