Using objects to coordinate design activity in interaction

Luck, Rachael (2010). Using objects to coordinate design activity in interaction. Construction Management and Economics, 28(6) pp. 641–655.



The coordination of design is a multi-faceted problem in construction. In design interactions in particular the real-time coordination of design activity is a persistent concern. The use of objects to coordinate the activity of design is studied as this happens in interactions between an architect and a building user group, in a setting where maintaining awareness of the design situation is important. An account of ways in which this was accomplished and how design activity is coordinated through interactional practices is provided. The empirical analyses examine design interaction from an ethnomethodological/conversation analysis (EM/CA) informed perspective to examine: ways in which mutual orientation to design issues are accomplished, how objects can provide a resource for the recognition of the activities of others and ways in which objects might be observable as momentarily intelligible. Subtle interactional practices involving talk, gesture and gaze were some of the small ways in which mutual orientation to the design actions of others became observable. The production of actions sequentially, in response to another’s action, marked the real-time coordination of design moves in this setting. The relevance of accounts of micro-interaction to develop understanding of design activity and how it is coordinated are considered.

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