H-Atlas.Porto relates to Design Driven Research (DDR) by attempting to cast light on often overlooked processes of renovation and reaching beyond the final design output. Within this scope, the research methodology draws on archival research, interviews with design actors, field work surveys and observation, as well as on drawing as a privileged tool for design driven research.
Bearing in mind the difficult relationship between theory and practice and refusing aprioristic and preconceived approaches, the H-ATLAS.Porto proposes a case by case approach, where each object constitutes a specific circumstance and starting point which may not be subject to generalisation. This inductive methodology incorporates the individual study of each design and construction process through a simultaneously chronological and general-to-detail sequence visual narrative: map location, images before intervention (historic images, photographs, drawings, surveys), drawings before intervention, design sketches, design and/or construction report extracts, demolition/additional drawings (red/yellow), construction site photographs, as well as built drawings, photographic reportage of interior and exterior (including plans with the location of photographic catches), architectural details complemented with photographic illustrations, comparative photographs of before and after, image credits and a selected bibliography.
Research Driven Design also deploys the production of drawings (with predefined and normalised Autocad layers) of the architectural work, both before demolitions/additions (red/yellow) and as built, which are executed with the same layout (selected plan(s), section(s) and elevation(s) according to each case), so that they may easily be compared and thereby provide a direct architectural comprehension of the intervention. Hence, drawing serves as a research tool that also includes geometric and compositional studies that help interpret and illustrate the relationships between new and old, as well as other interpretative schemes on building constructive phases and additions, the drawing of details by observation, among other aspects.