f_413_280_16777215_00___images_blog_images_theorybydesign_1.jpgTheory by Design: Architectural Research made explicit in the design teaching studio.

29-31 October 2012

Caroline Voet presents the paper:
Research on space as a productive design tool.
Re-introducing aesthetics into the design studio.

f_200_133_16777215_00___images_blog_images_theorybydesign_2.jpgCurrent architectural research often overlooks issues of geometry, structural design or typological analysis in relation to spatial effects. In design studios, aesthetics seem to be branded obsolete or superfluous. Nevertheless, we see that in current innovative architectural practices, it is through research on aesthetics, the knowledge of space itself, that new architectural potentialities are created. In the field, aesthetics had never left the building. The question then is twofold: how can we draw this further towards the research field and into the design studios? But also: how can current research on the level of aesthetics enhance architectural design?

This paper looks at research of space itself as a practical and productive means.
How can aesthetics be imbedded in the culture of change and relate to the multiple and generic?
In order to answer this, aesthetics of space are addressed from a pragmatic point of view. We go beyond normative architectural theories and spatial hermeneutics towards more descriptive theories and empirical research. The process of cognition becomes the central focal point. Doing so, it is necessary to move from a classical material approach towards a more phenomenological approach of space and its affects: a critical reading from Thomas Aquinas and Dom Hans van der Laan to for example Stan Allen and Jessy Reiser. This opens up possibilities for an intrinsic relation between aesthetics or theories of space and architectural production.
The design studio can offer a productive climate to conduct this kind of practice based research. This type of research helps to intellectually express ones motivations and to control spatial affects that are achieved within architectural creation. Caroline Voet will draw practical examples from her research and teaching at the Architectural Association (London), the Sint-Lucas Institute of Architecture (Brussels/Ghent) and the Arenberg Doctoral School (KULeuven).