Architects’ use of intuition in site analysis: the need for creative story-building.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This study explores architects' use of intuition in site analysis. During site analysis, the feasibility of a proposed construction project is tested, and options for building layouts explored. The use of intuition during site analysis can impact on the quality of the built environment. The study draws on dual processing theory, where cognitive processes are divided into Type 1 and 2 thinking, in which the former is intuitive and efficient, and the latter is effortful and slow. 21 interviews were conducted. The findings show that architects rely on intuition while working on site analysis, yet their intuitions are not always correct. Interviewees through their use of intuition formed design narratives for their projects. Those narratives were supported by architects’ feelings of confidence and were often formed before sufficient analysis and information was available. The proposals developed from these narratives were sometimes unfeasible or did not respond to the brief or user needs for the building. Unfeasible proposals led to major problems and delays, and in turn, rushed fixes to the design. In practice, the narratives were important, since a well-developed story could win a competition or a client for the architectural company. This research raises questions regarding architects’ competencies, education, practice and the effect narratives have on buildings post-completion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jul 2021
Event2021 Creativity Conference at Southern Oregon University - Southern Oregon University, United States
Duration: 8 Jul 202111 Jul 2021


Conference2021 Creativity Conference at Southern Oregon University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Intuition
  • Storytelling
  • Dual Processing Theory
  • Site Analysis
  • Creativity


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