We define architecture as the human activity which can only be successful through the cooperation of the designers’, builders’ and users’ intelligence. Apart from just acknowledging their contribution to the construction of the works of architecture, we argue that the varying relationship between the subjects involved, is the actual formal generator.
In this context, we distance ourselves from the commonplace stance of considering architectural form as the result of an operative virtuosity based on the design charge and brief, on the one hand, and the control of representational techniques, on the other. This is assumed to be performed by mainly one subject: the designer/architect – or, by extension, his design team, who will never inhabit the designed work.
We ask the students 1) to design a building 2) for someone they are related to, incorporating his charge on their brief* and 3) build a full scale detail, a material fragment of the building with the collaboration of a local craftsman.
Instead of designing an object, we attempt to design an anti-object, something which is in front of us but is not perceived as a separate entity, since it stands within, it is embedded in the relationship that we shape with more people, thinking about space but from the outside .
We develop a discourse, based on the input of lectures given every second week, dealing with:
a) issues of human activity in space through everyday routines,
b) descriptions of architectural forms based on the use and performance of everyday events,
c) analogies across the arts, especially music -because of its allographic/performative status-,
d) the ambiguities of taste and habitual misinterpretations when aesthetic aspects are being discussed,
e) how collaboration with subjects working in other disciplines (for example the user or the craftsmen involved have a different profession,) introduce different perspectives into the design process accelerating inventiveness, if attended well.
[Official Journal of the European Union, L 255/47, Architectural Education, points 1,2,3,5,6]
* we refer to the definition of the charge and the brief given by Michael Baxandall
Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition,Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998
Baxandall, Michael,Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985.