Recognizing the need to develop teamwork competencies and continuous learning in the education of architects is fundamental. This is because their role involves constant efforts to connect with other disciplines that enrich architectural practice. This premise is based on the conception of architecture as a discipline where various specialized fields converge. While it is clear that architecture is the study of the built environment and goes beyond the types of disciplines involved in city-building dynamics, these relationships must be grounded in theory and research as foundations for generating new knowledge. The synergy between knowledge and action expands the spectrum of economic, political, and technological analyses. This proposition is underscored because design, as part of action, is underestimated in many environments, and its devaluation is a missed opportunity for significant advances in society (Hillier and Leaman, 1976).

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Urban dynamics at the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan_ © Daryan Shamkhali, Unsplash.

The Architect’s Capacities as a Manager of Transdisciplinary 

The architect possesses extraordinary abilities to harness knowledge and use it to transform new realities through methods, techniques, and supportive tools for the materialization of their ideas. According to Stan Allen, these professional capacities are complemented by training the imagination alongside the ability to connect with society, expanding the possibilities of new alternative realities limitlessly (Nilsson, 2013). Within the architect’s knowledge and skillset lies the potential to formulate strategies and strengthen relationships among different entities that contribute to the production of new knowledge, objects, and services based on social, cultural, technological, and urban dynamics for the benefit of other disciplines such as engineering, urban planning, bioclimatic, landscaping, among others (Nilsson, 2013).

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Liège-Guillemins train station in Liège, Belgium. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and highlighted by the temporary art intervention by artist Daniel Buren_ © Travelling Slonik, Flickr.

Creativity and design are other capacities that differentiate architects from other professions. Creativity serves as inspiration, while design serves as a tool for creation (Klein, 2017). However, there is an urgent need to establish an emphasis on collaborative research to bridge the gap between theory and practice, promote open innovation, improve decision-making, foster discovery and learning in architecture and urban planning, sustainability, and the integration of architecture with other sciences such as health trends or neuroscience (Klein, 2017; Higuera-Trujillo et. al., 2021). 

The Success of Transdisciplinary in Architecture

There are many success stories where architecture, as the main axis, brings together multiple disciplines to achieve a common goal. The common case is the construction of a standard building type that involves construction engineering for the foundation and structure system, investors’ confidence in a project with economic potential, social expectations for positive impacts on the development and transformation of the urban environment, expectations regarding technologies implemented for the operation of the building under energy efficiency parameters, among other aspects that require specialized fields of action for their proper functioning.

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Urban canopy of the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, Portugal. The use of the roof as a public urban terrace is observed, and the image shows details of the ceramic enclosure of the museum’s facade_© André Pipa, Flickr.

One successful case of transdisciplinary is the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Suburbs in Quebec, Canada. Its methodology consists of establishing practical research processes and documenting evidence of the collaborative processes that arise in lines of study such as urban and architectural design and applied research. The interdisciplinary strategy of GIRBa trains architects, urban planners, and sociologists on urban issues in real and practical environments where challenges can be addressed together (Després et. al, 2010). In the case of developing countries like Colombia, the focus is readjusted to the social component due to the country’s socioeconomic problems. An example of a transdisciplinary study is the fieldwork carried out in the rural area of Buga, Colombia, where social design was implemented as a link between the community and the team of architects, designers, psychologists, engineers, social communicators, and technicians. The results invite reflection on involving the community in participatory processes through the application of instruments such as interviews, role-playing, social mapping, and questionnaires to promote cooperation and territorial pedagogy (Granada, 2016).

The rise of transdisciplinary dates back to the Industrial Revolution and with it, the technological revolution that transformed new forms of living. In architecture, this was reflected in the introduction of materials such as glass, iron, and concrete, which paved the way for new architectural movements such as modernism and high-tech (Agudo Martínez, 2022). This fact represents the power of technology to drive new developments in different areas, such as advances in material engineering and their applications in architecture and construction. However, in the rush of technology to develop new inventions, there exists a parallel reality disconnected from essential human needs for living, where dynamics are unknown due to a lack of articulations reflecting new user-friendly habitat proposals (Zurita, 2017). 


Agudo Martínez, M. J. (2022). Transdisciplinariedad en la Arquitectura contemporánea. (España: Universidad de Sevilla, ETSAS)

Després, C., Vachon, G. and Fortin, A. (2010). Implementing transdisciplinarity: Architecture and urban planning at work. In Transdisciplinary knowledge production in architecture and urbanism: Towards hybrid modes of inquiry (pp. 33-49). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Granada, H. (2016). El diseño social: espacio de interrelación transdisciplinaria. Algunos aportes para la convivencia. Dearq, (18), 32-45.

Higuera-Trujillo, J. L., Llinares, C. and Macagno, E. (2021). The cognitive-emotional design and study of architectural space: A scoping review of neuroarchitecture and its precursor approaches. Sensors, 21(6), 2193.

Hillier, B. and Leaman, A. (1976). Architecture as a discipline. Journal of Architectural Research, 28-32.

Klein, J. T. (2017). Creativity, design, and transdisciplinarity. Creativity, design thinking and interdisciplinarity, 53-68.

Nilsson, F. (2013). Making, Thinking, Knowing Architecture. Notes on Architecture as a Making Discipline and Material Practice. When Architects and Designers Write / Draw / Build / ?. Chalmers Publication Library. pp. 126-147.

Zurita, M. E. (2017). La habitabilidad y la transdisciplinariedad. Revistarquis, 6(2).


Andrea is an architect and researcher passionate about sustainability in architecture, social transformations, and heat transfer in architectural envelopes for warm climates. Additionally, she loves traveling to explore architectural landmarks around the world and, in this way, travel through time.