Research is everywhere. Architects incite action, design materials and archive cities. They capitalize upon the excess energy of practice to launch unsolicited experiments into the world, or sidestep clients by joining forces with government think tanks. Discussions from classrooms have found currency at town halls, and findings from construction sites have migrated into basement laboratories. Yet for all of its vitality, research eludes definition. The term describes everything and nothing, leaving its assumptions–the drive towards innovation, certainty, and influence, for example–unexamined.
ARPA Journal is a forum for debates on what is applied research in architecture. We scrutinize techniques of inquiry to examine their ethical stance and spark ideas for their potential transformation. If the term applied research conventionally describes a practice adulterated by practical concern or funding bias, ARPA Journal asks how research can embrace its entangled nature, and experiment with the very problem of autonomy in application.