The Architecture of Creativity: Toward a Causal Theory of Creative Workspace Design

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The question of how the physical work environment can affect creativity is gaining interest among companies and educational institutions. This paper introduces ten propositions outlining possible relationships between spatial characteristics and creative work. The propositions were developed following a grounded-theory approach based on nine expert interviews that provide insight on the topic from the perspective of different creative fields—namely, urban planning, architecture, interior design, office planning, furniture design, industrialdesign, design thinking, innovation, and fine arts. We focused on both educational and practice environments within the creative sector. For each proposition, we provide links to supporting literature. We present a summary of the main insights and visualize the developed propositions as a set of causal graphs. The propositions have implications for both research and practice: on the one hand, they can be regarded as the first step toward a theory of creativity-supporting work environments; on the other hand, they can serve as a reference when designing or adjusting creative workspaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-36
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Architectural design
  • Creative space
  • Creativity
  • Grounded Theory
  • Workspaces for design


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