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The different ‘places’ where one discusses or presents work, and the particular quality of the environment where these take place. These spatial metaphors range in character from being in-progress, pedagogical or informal to communicative, informational or archival.
The variety of media and formats in which research outputs can take shape, engaging different forms of communication, reaching particular audiences and accomplishing specific purposes.
The different ways in which one person ‘knows more than she can tell’ depending on the character and origin of the knowledge. These different forms of tacit knowing describe its specificity: pointing out whether something is implicit because it is unconscious, unrecognized, unsaid, uncodified etc.
The keywords, fields and concepts that situate the particular contributions of the network within broader literature and schools of thought.
The different phases and forms of dissemination that research and academic outputs can take, indicating the kind of publication, the progress of the work or the forum where they are presented.
The idioms that reflect the multinational character and vocalize the conversations of the TACK network and its outputs.
The members, contributors, facilitators, communities and organizations that build up, around and underneath the TACK Network and participate, in one way or another, in the endeavour of addressing the question of Tacit Knowledge in architecture.
Book chapter TACK Book

Traveling Perspectives: Tracing ‘impressions’ of a project in Flanders

Fig. 6.2: Focus on the front façade of the BMCC. Photographed December 2022.
ABSTRACT
The collection of localities that play an active (and overlooked) or quiescent (yet potent) role in architectural practices are put in question here. The chapter investigates how a project and its site specific geographical setting can contain traces of broader architectural contexts. It asks how architectural collaborative approaches that stem from the encounter of different perspectives can be read in the lived environment through the lens of plurilocality. Distinct yet intermingling perspectives of a contemporary architectural realisation are drawn out through a dive into the meeting and convention centre in Bruges. This is a building designed by two offices based in different architectural environments — the Portuguese practice Souto de Moura Arquitectos alongside the Antwerp-based firm META architectuurbureau. Various perspectives of the same building are set in parallel, exploring place through similarities and differences. From different modes of apprehending the project, concepts of place and architectural intentions set in motion in this instance are unpacked, involving a transversal reading through a broader architectural community of practice. Active instances of getting to know a place through experience can thereby be tacit yet situated: they can be embodied, embedded and enacted. This further explores Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s hint of a depth found in the latent form of impressions, in their ‘caché-révélé’ or hidden-revealed. Expressions of such instances, through interpreting reflexive features of buildings that stem from plurilocal collaborations, become productive insights into the mechanisms of place relation, their transfers and interweaving, and their impact in architectural design practices. Most of all, these parcels of the tacit dimension of place interpretation are put forward as such: aggregates that interfere with- and feed a relation-full practice of living environments.
Caendia Wijnbelt
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Traveling Perspectives: Tracing ‘impressions’ of a project in Flanders

Caendia Wijnbelt
Fig. 6.2: Focus on the front façade of the BMCC. Photographed December 2022.
Fig. 6.X: Analogue double exposures. The BMCC overlayed with the Beursplein neighbourhood, photographed December 2022.
Fig. 6.X: Double exposure;;;;
Fig. 6.5: View of the historical center of Bruges from the Belvedere of the BMCC, photographed February 2022.
Fig. 6.X: Analogue double exposures
Figure 6.X: BMCC, photographed February 2022
Fig. 6.9:
ABSTRACT
The collection of localities that play an active (and overlooked) or quiescent (yet potent) role in architectural practices are put in question here. The chapter investigates how a project and its site specific geographical setting can contain traces of broader architectural contexts. It asks how architectural collaborative approaches that stem from the encounter of different perspectives can be read in the lived environment through the lens of plurilocality. Distinct yet intermingling perspectives of a contemporary architectural realisation are drawn out through a dive into the meeting and convention centre in Bruges. This is a building designed by two offices based in different architectural environments — the Portuguese practice Souto de Moura Arquitectos alongside the Antwerp-based firm META architectuurbureau. Various perspectives of the same building are set in parallel, exploring place through similarities and differences. From different modes of apprehending the project, concepts of place and architectural intentions set in motion in this instance are unpacked, involving a transversal reading through a broader architectural community of practice. Active instances of getting to know a place through experience can thereby be tacit yet situated: they can be embodied, embedded and enacted. This further explores Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s hint of a depth found in the latent form of impressions, in their ‘caché-révélé’ or hidden-revealed. Expressions of such instances, through interpreting reflexive features of buildings that stem from plurilocal collaborations, become productive insights into the mechanisms of place relation, their transfers and interweaving, and their impact in architectural design practices. Most of all, these parcels of the tacit dimension of place interpretation are put forward as such: aggregates that interfere with- and feed a relation-full practice of living environments.
Book chapter Case Study Conference Paper Paper

2022

A Joint of Many Worlds: Entangled Stories in Battaile en Ibens’s 78+ Construction System in Timber

© Eric Crevels
ABSTRACT
This paper explores the distinct networks of technical and embodied knowledge present in the development of the 78+ construction system in timber, designed in the 1970-80s by Flemish design office Battaile Ibens. It develops the history of the knooppunt, a joint of a particular material and technical complexity that structures the system’s wooden beams and cross-shaped columns, and argues for the understanding of architecture and construction as complex constellations of different crafts and skills, including but not limited to architectural design and engineering. Design and technical decisions are traced in parallel to economic and marketing strategies, weaving together social and material phenomena that shaped the system’s history. From the initial designs and prototyping, through publicity decisions and appearances in international expositions, until its idealization in the office’s approach, the history of the knooppunt exemplifies the interplay between different stakeholders and knowledge orbiting the technological development of construction systems.
Eric Crevels
Book chapter Case Study Conference Paper Paper

2022

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A Joint of Many Worlds: Entangled Stories in Battaile en Ibens’s 78+ Construction System in Timber

Eric Crevels
© Eric Crevels
© Eric Crevels
© Eric Crevels
ABSTRACT
This paper explores the distinct networks of technical and embodied knowledge present in the development of the 78+ construction system in timber, designed in the 1970-80s by Flemish design office Battaile Ibens. It develops the history of the knooppunt, a joint of a particular material and technical complexity that structures the system’s wooden beams and cross-shaped columns, and argues for the understanding of architecture and construction as complex constellations of different crafts and skills, including but not limited to architectural design and engineering. Design and technical decisions are traced in parallel to economic and marketing strategies, weaving together social and material phenomena that shaped the system’s history. From the initial designs and prototyping, through publicity decisions and appearances in international expositions, until its idealization in the office’s approach, the history of the knooppunt exemplifies the interplay between different stakeholders and knowledge orbiting the technological development of construction systems.
Book chapter TACK Book

Latent Continuities: Architectural knowledge and the heuristic tension of Indwelling

ABSTRACT
In his theory of Tacit Knowledge Michael Polanyi introduced the concept of Indwelling, to explain the role of habit and skill in practice-based knowledge, but also to describe a heuristic tension that underlies all forms of knowing. Such a tension, Polanyi tells us, unfolds from the ‘depths’ of our biological being to the ‘heights’ of ideas and cultural values. The premise of this essay is that the spatial (and temporal) metaphor of Indwelling is hardly an accident: human consciousness is opened to knowledge primarily through our physical engagement with the world, marked by both space and time. The hypothesis is thus formed of architecture as a discipline studying precisely such tacit processes of (In)dwelling, in search of correspondences between ‘thick’ levels of bodily disposition and ‘thinner’ levels of intellect and imagination. To pursue this hypothesis, I turn to the example of a two-month apprenticeship in traditional stonemasonry, that took place in 2019 in Greece, entailing the reconstruction of a particular type of dry-stone cobbled pathway, called kalderimi.
Ionas Sklavounos
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Latent Continuities: Architectural knowledge and the heuristic tension of Indwelling

Ionas Sklavounos
ABSTRACT
In his theory of Tacit Knowledge Michael Polanyi introduced the concept of Indwelling, to explain the role of habit and skill in practice-based knowledge, but also to describe a heuristic tension that underlies all forms of knowing. Such a tension, Polanyi tells us, unfolds from the ‘depths’ of our biological being to the ‘heights’ of ideas and cultural values. The premise of this essay is that the spatial (and temporal) metaphor of Indwelling is hardly an accident: human consciousness is opened to knowledge primarily through our physical engagement with the world, marked by both space and time. The hypothesis is thus formed of architecture as a discipline studying precisely such tacit processes of (In)dwelling, in search of correspondences between ‘thick’ levels of bodily disposition and ‘thinner’ levels of intellect and imagination. To pursue this hypothesis, I turn to the example of a two-month apprenticeship in traditional stonemasonry, that took place in 2019 in Greece, entailing the reconstruction of a particular type of dry-stone cobbled pathway, called kalderimi.
Book chapter TACK Book

Mouldy Smells and Tacit Noses: knowledges coming into view

© TACK
ABSTRACT
In 2016 two ‘moisture experts’ visited a small public building in Stockholm. Moisture had started to seep in, and mould started to grow in the wooden park building, the spores making the staff working there ill. The experts recorded the levels of microorganisms in the interior air and the composite building materials with scientific equipment and expert noses, identifying certain elements through technological data and odorous qualities. The expert noses registered the same smells as the staff in the buildings, but evaluated, analysed and categorised them according to their expert knowledge field.   Rather than aiming to make tacit knowledges explicit, this paper puts forward a methodological approach to tacit knowledge which unpacks and makes visible what tacit knowledges does, how it operates, and what and who it affects within architecture. By engaging with material ‘events’ (Bennett, 2010) and ‘stutters’ (Graham and Thrift, 2007), like this mould and its smell, through archival documents, scientific reports and changing building materials, the testimony of the material (Material Witness, Schuppli, 2020) makes visible the socio-economic and political value systems and decision-making processes embedded into the fabric of the building. It unpacks how things, otherwise hidden, come into view when systems, infrastructures and buildings break and fall apart, and how the various knowledge productions and value systems tied and embedded into this specific building and its mouldy materials can be unfolded and detangled through a theoretical framework of stutters, ruptures and events. Through this building, its smelly materials, and the different noses inside it, expert and non-expert, the paper unpacks how tacit knowledges operates, who or what can carry it, and what and who it affects.
Anna Livia Vørsel
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Mouldy Smells and Tacit Noses: knowledges coming into view

Anna Livia Vørsel
© TACK
ABSTRACT
In 2016 two ‘moisture experts’ visited a small public building in Stockholm. Moisture had started to seep in, and mould started to grow in the wooden park building, the spores making the staff working there ill. The experts recorded the levels of microorganisms in the interior air and the composite building materials with scientific equipment and expert noses, identifying certain elements through technological data and odorous qualities. The expert noses registered the same smells as the staff in the buildings, but evaluated, analysed and categorised them according to their expert knowledge field.   Rather than aiming to make tacit knowledges explicit, this paper puts forward a methodological approach to tacit knowledge which unpacks and makes visible what tacit knowledges does, how it operates, and what and who it affects within architecture. By engaging with material ‘events’ (Bennett, 2010) and ‘stutters’ (Graham and Thrift, 2007), like this mould and its smell, through archival documents, scientific reports and changing building materials, the testimony of the material (Material Witness, Schuppli, 2020) makes visible the socio-economic and political value systems and decision-making processes embedded into the fabric of the building. It unpacks how things, otherwise hidden, come into view when systems, infrastructures and buildings break and fall apart, and how the various knowledge productions and value systems tied and embedded into this specific building and its mouldy materials can be unfolded and detangled through a theoretical framework of stutters, ruptures and events. Through this building, its smelly materials, and the different noses inside it, expert and non-expert, the paper unpacks how tacit knowledges operates, who or what can carry it, and what and who it affects.
Book chapter Essay

Introduction to “Entwerfen Erforschen: Der performative turn in der Architekturlehre” (2016)

© Angelika Schnell
This is the introduction to the book "Angelika Schnell, Eva Sommeregger, Waltraud Indrist (Hrsg.), Entwerfen Erforschen: Der performative turn in der Architekturlehre, Birkhäuser Publishers, Basel/Berlin/Boston 2016".
Angelika Schnell
Book chapter Essay

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Introduction to “Entwerfen Erforschen: Der performative turn in der Architekturlehre” (2016)

Angelika Schnell
© Angelika Schnell
This is the introduction to the book "Angelika Schnell, Eva Sommeregger, Waltraud Indrist (Hrsg.), Entwerfen Erforschen: Der performative turn in der Architekturlehre, Birkhäuser Publishers, Basel/Berlin/Boston 2016".
Book chapter TACK Book

Coarse epistemes: Skill, craftsmanship and tacit knowledge in the grit of the world

© TACK
ABSTRACT
In the words of Dutch archaeologist Maikel Kuijpers, craft is “a way of exploring and understanding the material world”. This definition suggests that craftsmanship can be understood as a touchstone for a theory of knowledge in material productions. By exploring the role of skill in the processes of making and its epistemic correspondence, I develop the hypothesis that craftsmanship is as a perceptive-cognitive enactment within the making process, a form of attunement with production. The argument is that the material, productive side of work deploys and operates a particular epistemological regime, based on types of practical engagement deeply related to the possibilities and contingencies of objective, concrete reality. Making means implicating oneself with the material world, embedding the body in the processes of transforming matter and partaking in the flows of forces that form things. Thus, the knowledge in the making – skill – can be understood as the invention or establishment of a new mode of perception through action that is enacted by tools, movements, techniques etc. This practical perception acts as the foundational basis on which craftsmanship is performed, representing its conditions of possibility. Given the perceptual, embodied nature of craftsmanship, its transmission is rendered impossible outside the actual engagement with production. As such, this interpretation refers back to the original distinctions made by Gilbert Ryle of “knowing that” and “knowing how” that influenced Michael Polanyi in his definition of tacit knowledge. The particular epistemic rationality of crafts provides insights for understanding knowledge inside disciplines involved with creative practice, such as architecture. The epistemic coupling with production helps to understand how architects design, but it also reveals a general epistemic schism in the discipline, founded in the inconsistency between abstract designerly knowledge and the craftsmanship of construction.
Eric Crevels
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Coarse epistemes: Skill, craftsmanship and tacit knowledge in the grit of the world

Eric Crevels
© TACK
ABSTRACT
In the words of Dutch archaeologist Maikel Kuijpers, craft is “a way of exploring and understanding the material world”. This definition suggests that craftsmanship can be understood as a touchstone for a theory of knowledge in material productions. By exploring the role of skill in the processes of making and its epistemic correspondence, I develop the hypothesis that craftsmanship is as a perceptive-cognitive enactment within the making process, a form of attunement with production. The argument is that the material, productive side of work deploys and operates a particular epistemological regime, based on types of practical engagement deeply related to the possibilities and contingencies of objective, concrete reality. Making means implicating oneself with the material world, embedding the body in the processes of transforming matter and partaking in the flows of forces that form things. Thus, the knowledge in the making – skill – can be understood as the invention or establishment of a new mode of perception through action that is enacted by tools, movements, techniques etc. This practical perception acts as the foundational basis on which craftsmanship is performed, representing its conditions of possibility. Given the perceptual, embodied nature of craftsmanship, its transmission is rendered impossible outside the actual engagement with production. As such, this interpretation refers back to the original distinctions made by Gilbert Ryle of “knowing that” and “knowing how” that influenced Michael Polanyi in his definition of tacit knowledge. The particular epistemic rationality of crafts provides insights for understanding knowledge inside disciplines involved with creative practice, such as architecture. The epistemic coupling with production helps to understand how architects design, but it also reveals a general epistemic schism in the discipline, founded in the inconsistency between abstract designerly knowledge and the craftsmanship of construction.
Book chapter TACK Book

A Post-Post Positional Praxis: Locating ideas of repair in a Southern city

© TACK
ABSTRACT
Abstract The legally implemented South African Apartheid city model of the 20th Century very specifically separated urban inhabitants along strict racial spatial definitions as set out by city practitioners and mandated by the national government on top of the existing colonial state model of segregation. These societal logics and legal systems have had a wide-scale systemic phyco-spatial effect on the many generations of urban dwellers who have no reference to patterns of living and space-making outside of this city-model. More specifically, the laws and regulations that carried these ideologies have instilled largely prejudiced tacit forms of understanding of self and ‘other’ that remain deeply entrenched in the spatial practitioners who are trusted to design and make within this context. For this reason, a critically proactive engagement with these harmfully biased tacit knowledge systems is a crucial endeavour across the built-environment practice – especially so in the architectural and the related spatial design disciplines. Such a deeply interpersonal recognition of such dynamics within spatial-design practice call for approaches, methods, and techniques that operate through considered and inclusive forms of practice that are often difficult to frame within the current ‘northern’ framings of the architect or the designer. Instead, other conceptual frameworks such as Southern Urbanism offer a more situated armature to locate these questions and begin an other-wisely based inquiry through these challenges. By thinking about an architectural - or more appropriately: a spatial design practice - through values and actions that are true to the locus of the site from which they exist, on the situated terms of the context that produce them, and through the languages – spoken, gestured and visual – that they are actioned through; the research holds an the potential to reveal other forms of more connective tacit knowledge that exist in these ways of making and maintaining urban spaces. Such an inquiry holds the potential to guide these practices both within the disciplines of the architect and support those engaging with these dynamics to expand their understandings of practice and the ‘Imaginative Geographies’ of separation and difference that continue to shape the post-Apartheid and post-Colonial cities of South Africa.
Jhono Bennett
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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A Post-Post Positional Praxis: Locating ideas of repair in a Southern city

Jhono Bennett
© TACK
ABSTRACT
Abstract The legally implemented South African Apartheid city model of the 20th Century very specifically separated urban inhabitants along strict racial spatial definitions as set out by city practitioners and mandated by the national government on top of the existing colonial state model of segregation. These societal logics and legal systems have had a wide-scale systemic phyco-spatial effect on the many generations of urban dwellers who have no reference to patterns of living and space-making outside of this city-model. More specifically, the laws and regulations that carried these ideologies have instilled largely prejudiced tacit forms of understanding of self and ‘other’ that remain deeply entrenched in the spatial practitioners who are trusted to design and make within this context. For this reason, a critically proactive engagement with these harmfully biased tacit knowledge systems is a crucial endeavour across the built-environment practice – especially so in the architectural and the related spatial design disciplines. Such a deeply interpersonal recognition of such dynamics within spatial-design practice call for approaches, methods, and techniques that operate through considered and inclusive forms of practice that are often difficult to frame within the current ‘northern’ framings of the architect or the designer. Instead, other conceptual frameworks such as Southern Urbanism offer a more situated armature to locate these questions and begin an other-wisely based inquiry through these challenges. By thinking about an architectural - or more appropriately: a spatial design practice - through values and actions that are true to the locus of the site from which they exist, on the situated terms of the context that produce them, and through the languages – spoken, gestured and visual – that they are actioned through; the research holds an the potential to reveal other forms of more connective tacit knowledge that exist in these ways of making and maintaining urban spaces. Such an inquiry holds the potential to guide these practices both within the disciplines of the architect and support those engaging with these dynamics to expand their understandings of practice and the ‘Imaginative Geographies’ of separation and difference that continue to shape the post-Apartheid and post-Colonial cities of South Africa.
Book Book chapter

The Tacit Dimension [Excerpt]

The book “The Tacit Dimension” by Michael Polanyi was published firstly in 1966 at The University of Chicago Press. The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Tacit Knowing” (p. 4-13). I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell. This fact seems obvious enough; but it is not easy to say exactly what it means. Take an example. We know a person’s face, and can recognize it among a thousand, indeed among a million. Yet we usually cannot tell how we recognize a face we know. So most of this knowledge cannot be put into words. But the police have recently introduced a method by which we can communicate much of this knowledge. They have made a large collection of pictures showing a variety of noses, mouths, and other features. From these the witness selects the particulars of the face he knows, and the pieces can then be put together to form a reasonably good likeness of the face. This may suggest that we can communicate, after all, our knowledge of a physiognomy, provided we are given adequate means for expressing ourselves. But the application of the police method does not change the fact that previous to it we did know more than we could tell at the time. Moreover, we can use the police method only by knowing how to match the features we remember with those in the collection, and we cannot tell how we do this. This very act of communication displays a knowledge that we cannot tell.
Michael Polanyi
Book Book chapter

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The Tacit Dimension [Excerpt]

Michael Polanyi
The book “The Tacit Dimension” by Michael Polanyi was published firstly in 1966 at The University of Chicago Press. The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Tacit Knowing” (p. 4-13). I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell. This fact seems obvious enough; but it is not easy to say exactly what it means. Take an example. We know a person’s face, and can recognize it among a thousand, indeed among a million. Yet we usually cannot tell how we recognize a face we know. So most of this knowledge cannot be put into words. But the police have recently introduced a method by which we can communicate much of this knowledge. They have made a large collection of pictures showing a variety of noses, mouths, and other features. From these the witness selects the particulars of the face he knows, and the pieces can then be put together to form a reasonably good likeness of the face. This may suggest that we can communicate, after all, our knowledge of a physiognomy, provided we are given adequate means for expressing ourselves. But the application of the police method does not change the fact that previous to it we did know more than we could tell at the time. Moreover, we can use the police method only by knowing how to match the features we remember with those in the collection, and we cannot tell how we do this. This very act of communication displays a knowledge that we cannot tell.
Book chapter Conference Paper Open Access Publication

15 August 2021

The Tangible Presence of Human Labor in Architecture

Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria, © Public Domain
ABSTRACT
This essay aims to show that in many of the theories that fundament material culture and architectural experience, labor is implied in the constitution of material and, although seldom directly addressed, it is a determining dimension of materiality. From the Vitruvian and Renaissance treatises and Gottfried Semper to John Ruskin and the Art and Crafts Movement, the underlying presence of labor can be seen intertwined with materials whenever they are called into architectural discussion as sensorial arguments. Just like the physical qualities of materials, labor, skills and techniques are imprinted in the built environment and contribute to the creation of particular atmospheres.
Eric Crevels
Book chapter Conference Paper Open Access Publication

15 August 2021

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The Tangible Presence of Human Labor in Architecture

Eric Crevels
Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria, © Public Domain
Ruskin’s The Nature of the Gothic, © Public Domain
Vitruviu’s De Architectura Libri Decem, © Public Domain
ABSTRACT
This essay aims to show that in many of the theories that fundament material culture and architectural experience, labor is implied in the constitution of material and, although seldom directly addressed, it is a determining dimension of materiality. From the Vitruvian and Renaissance treatises and Gottfried Semper to John Ruskin and the Art and Crafts Movement, the underlying presence of labor can be seen intertwined with materials whenever they are called into architectural discussion as sensorial arguments. Just like the physical qualities of materials, labor, skills and techniques are imprinted in the built environment and contribute to the creation of particular atmospheres.
Book chapter TACK Book

Forêt DesCartes: Images, fragments, and repertoires in Kieckens’s tacit knowledge

ABSTRACT
Christian Kieckens' archive at the Flemish Architecture Institute in Antwerp holds a curious object: the Foret DesCartes. It is a prototype of Kaartenstander (postcards display table stand) designed by Kieckens in 1995. The object is extremely simple: an MDF board with maple veneer on which are inserted 16 postcard holders made of bent iron rods arranged in a regular 6x4 cm grid. More than just an odd display of postcards, this small object is an operational tool for producing and transmitting architectural knowledge through the collection of images and their recomposition in space. The same cognitive mode that is represented by the Foret DesCartes can be found reflected within Christian Kieckens' key practices: the architectural trip and its communication within a Belgian and European community of practice, the use of photography as a documentation tool but also as a visual reflection on architecture, the transmission of knowledge through the medium of the illustrated book and of the exhibition, the teaching of architecture by means of examples and references. Currently underway at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal within the framework of the TACK network, the research project, ‘The Pictures on the Wall. The Composite Culture of a Contemporary Flemish Architect’, investigates Kieckens’s role as mediator between the transatlantic architectural culture of the 1980s and the local context of Flanders. The key assumption is that this process of cultural migration happened first of all at the tacit level. Kieckens’s tacit knowledge is primarily found in its fragmentary nature – as a repertoire of themes and images – as well as in its crucial relationship with a number of visual practices and media. This attitude is considered from an interdisciplinary perspective that integrates external viewpoints such as those of cultural studies, anthropology, and iconology. On this basis, Kieckens’s practices have been operatively addressed by means of a hybrid methodology, which combines bibliographic and archival studies with a series of performative approaches such as interviews and immersive ethnographic investigation, pedagogical re-enactment and experimental display, images collection and visual comparison. Within a curatorial secondment at the Flanders Architecture Institute VAi in Antwerp and a collaboration with Hasselt University, these approaches finally resulted in the exhibition, ‘Forêt DesCartes – Christian Kieckens and the Composite Culture of Architecture in Flanders’, which opened at the De Singel Centre in November 2022.
Filippo Cattapan
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Forêt DesCartes: Images, fragments, and repertoires in Kieckens’s tacit knowledge

Filippo Cattapan
© TACK
ABSTRACT
Christian Kieckens' archive at the Flemish Architecture Institute in Antwerp holds a curious object: the Foret DesCartes. It is a prototype of Kaartenstander (postcards display table stand) designed by Kieckens in 1995. The object is extremely simple: an MDF board with maple veneer on which are inserted 16 postcard holders made of bent iron rods arranged in a regular 6x4 cm grid. More than just an odd display of postcards, this small object is an operational tool for producing and transmitting architectural knowledge through the collection of images and their recomposition in space. The same cognitive mode that is represented by the Foret DesCartes can be found reflected within Christian Kieckens' key practices: the architectural trip and its communication within a Belgian and European community of practice, the use of photography as a documentation tool but also as a visual reflection on architecture, the transmission of knowledge through the medium of the illustrated book and of the exhibition, the teaching of architecture by means of examples and references. Currently underway at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal within the framework of the TACK network, the research project, ‘The Pictures on the Wall. The Composite Culture of a Contemporary Flemish Architect’, investigates Kieckens’s role as mediator between the transatlantic architectural culture of the 1980s and the local context of Flanders. The key assumption is that this process of cultural migration happened first of all at the tacit level. Kieckens’s tacit knowledge is primarily found in its fragmentary nature – as a repertoire of themes and images – as well as in its crucial relationship with a number of visual practices and media. This attitude is considered from an interdisciplinary perspective that integrates external viewpoints such as those of cultural studies, anthropology, and iconology. On this basis, Kieckens’s practices have been operatively addressed by means of a hybrid methodology, which combines bibliographic and archival studies with a series of performative approaches such as interviews and immersive ethnographic investigation, pedagogical re-enactment and experimental display, images collection and visual comparison. Within a curatorial secondment at the Flanders Architecture Institute VAi in Antwerp and a collaboration with Hasselt University, these approaches finally resulted in the exhibition, ‘Forêt DesCartes – Christian Kieckens and the Composite Culture of Architecture in Flanders’, which opened at the De Singel Centre in November 2022.
Book chapter TACK Book

No Body, Never Mind: The entanglement of how architects construct imagination

Figure 3.1: My Mother’s back, 1996, Elinor Carucci Source: Elinor Carucci’s private archive. US Credit: Elinor Carucci., © US Credit: Elinor Carucci
ABSTRACT
In architectural practice, one does not primarily write, one draws, models or explains with words, mostly through the visual communication of ideas. Just as architects use literacy to describe stories and connect with what touches them, material literacy is necessary to describe what architects literally touch. Material has the ability to respond to the design and even influence it at a very early stage of the process when it comes into contact with the body. As the scientist Barad rightly asked: “How did language come to be more trustworthy than matter?” (Barad, 2003). Material can create an experimental platform to trigger emotions, to go beyond norms and return to what has become schematic in the process of making architecture. This method of architectural dramaturgy, i.e., seeking a multifaceted narrative about house and home through engagement with material, could critically reveal unseen labour and unheard voices, and facilitate a connection to our surrounding.   The paper argues feelings from the inside of the body that apparent on the outside of the body offer new ways of knowledge production in architecture. Adopting the interdisciplinary approach by Finish architect and critic Juhani Pallasmaa (in his The Thinking Hand, 2009) the paper considers theatre and performance studies as examples of phenomenological aspects of kinaesthetic and multi-sensory perception of “the internal space and one’s inner mental space” (Pallasmaa, 2009, p.19). By theoretically analysing related emotions embedded in the various hands-on processes mediated through visuals (image, video, drawings) and the applicability of the materiality of the human body (voice, gesture, etc.), empathy and trust in both architectural and theatrical production are an important trajectory to enrich collective knowledge. Starting from here, the chapter advocates not only looking at visual mediation of material, but going beyond that and prompting the capability to read and listen to sound, expression and movement that come from both sides equally – humans and non-humans – to build up material literacy and achieve a sensitivity towards tacit knowledge in architecture.
Mara Trübenbach
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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No Body, Never Mind: The entanglement of how architects construct imagination

Mara Trübenbach
Figure 3.1: My Mother’s back, 1996, Elinor Carucci Source: Elinor Carucci’s private archive. US Credit: Elinor Carucci., © US Credit: Elinor Carucci
ABSTRACT
In architectural practice, one does not primarily write, one draws, models or explains with words, mostly through the visual communication of ideas. Just as architects use literacy to describe stories and connect with what touches them, material literacy is necessary to describe what architects literally touch. Material has the ability to respond to the design and even influence it at a very early stage of the process when it comes into contact with the body. As the scientist Barad rightly asked: “How did language come to be more trustworthy than matter?” (Barad, 2003). Material can create an experimental platform to trigger emotions, to go beyond norms and return to what has become schematic in the process of making architecture. This method of architectural dramaturgy, i.e., seeking a multifaceted narrative about house and home through engagement with material, could critically reveal unseen labour and unheard voices, and facilitate a connection to our surrounding.   The paper argues feelings from the inside of the body that apparent on the outside of the body offer new ways of knowledge production in architecture. Adopting the interdisciplinary approach by Finish architect and critic Juhani Pallasmaa (in his The Thinking Hand, 2009) the paper considers theatre and performance studies as examples of phenomenological aspects of kinaesthetic and multi-sensory perception of “the internal space and one’s inner mental space” (Pallasmaa, 2009, p.19). By theoretically analysing related emotions embedded in the various hands-on processes mediated through visuals (image, video, drawings) and the applicability of the materiality of the human body (voice, gesture, etc.), empathy and trust in both architectural and theatrical production are an important trajectory to enrich collective knowledge. Starting from here, the chapter advocates not only looking at visual mediation of material, but going beyond that and prompting the capability to read and listen to sound, expression and movement that come from both sides equally – humans and non-humans – to build up material literacy and achieve a sensitivity towards tacit knowledge in architecture.
Book chapter TACK Book

Exploring Spatial Perception through Performative 1:1 Extended Reality Models: Preliminary insights from Infra-thin Magick

© TACK
ABSTRACT
Building on scenography, performance theory and findings from neurosciences, tacit knowing in architecture is understood here as embodied, embedded and enacted perceptual dimension of our built environment. Through art- and design-based research, tacitly knowing is examined as a form of practice and a new extended reality (XR) design tool is probed to exercise it. Since the atmospheric turn in architecture (Böhme 2017, McCormack 2014, Bille et al. 2015), it is well known that spatial perception is multi-sensory and that the interplay of our senses goes beyond the cross-fertilization of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. Nevertheless, architectural designers may have only touched the surface of what we might be able to feel regarding our spatial environments. Apart from the sensation of our movement and whether our environment is too hot or cold, our abilities to feel space physically remain challenging to represent and communicate through conventional architectural tools. This includes i.e. our sense of balance, our ability to feel time passing, our knowledge of which of our body parts are where without having to look at them, and our sense of gravity, orientation, and illumination. Some of these “always-there-but-never-felt” sensations can be revealed and physically experienced when entering a fully immersive virtual environment for the first time. As our brain takes a split second to adjust to the novel surroundings, it is at this moment that we can suddenly sense our senses at work. The XR case study “Infra-thin Magick”, exhibited as part of Speculative Fiction at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2022, explains how such unanticipated insights can be purposefully evoked by displacing and reassembling the components constituting our multimodal and synaesthetic spatial perception. Leaning on the design theoretician Thea Brejzek and Lawrence Wallan’s understanding of the “autonomous model”, this performative real-time and -scale XR model that oscillates between physical installation and virtual reality (VR) experience is employed as an operative tool for designing and analyzing spatial experiences beyond the known sensations of our built environment. First user-testing results are presented, and the premise of the autonomous model to co-create reality and allow architects to research through active participation, first-hand experience, discovery, and play are brought to light.
Paula Strunden
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Exploring Spatial Perception through Performative 1:1 Extended Reality Models: Preliminary insights from Infra-thin Magick

Paula Strunden
© TACK
ABSTRACT
Building on scenography, performance theory and findings from neurosciences, tacit knowing in architecture is understood here as embodied, embedded and enacted perceptual dimension of our built environment. Through art- and design-based research, tacitly knowing is examined as a form of practice and a new extended reality (XR) design tool is probed to exercise it. Since the atmospheric turn in architecture (Böhme 2017, McCormack 2014, Bille et al. 2015), it is well known that spatial perception is multi-sensory and that the interplay of our senses goes beyond the cross-fertilization of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. Nevertheless, architectural designers may have only touched the surface of what we might be able to feel regarding our spatial environments. Apart from the sensation of our movement and whether our environment is too hot or cold, our abilities to feel space physically remain challenging to represent and communicate through conventional architectural tools. This includes i.e. our sense of balance, our ability to feel time passing, our knowledge of which of our body parts are where without having to look at them, and our sense of gravity, orientation, and illumination. Some of these “always-there-but-never-felt” sensations can be revealed and physically experienced when entering a fully immersive virtual environment for the first time. As our brain takes a split second to adjust to the novel surroundings, it is at this moment that we can suddenly sense our senses at work. The XR case study “Infra-thin Magick”, exhibited as part of Speculative Fiction at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2022, explains how such unanticipated insights can be purposefully evoked by displacing and reassembling the components constituting our multimodal and synaesthetic spatial perception. Leaning on the design theoretician Thea Brejzek and Lawrence Wallan’s understanding of the “autonomous model”, this performative real-time and -scale XR model that oscillates between physical installation and virtual reality (VR) experience is employed as an operative tool for designing and analyzing spatial experiences beyond the known sensations of our built environment. First user-testing results are presented, and the premise of the autonomous model to co-create reality and allow architects to research through active participation, first-hand experience, discovery, and play are brought to light.
Book chapter TACK Book

Decoding a Practice’s DNA: Multiple registers of tacit knowledge

ABSTRACT
In the manifold spectrum of how tacit knowledge can be conceived in architecture, the contribution aims to investigate that embedded in the architects' design process by reflecting on the codes they employ.   If the vectors are tools or communicative materials –i.e., drawings, sketches, models, texts, etc.– used for transmission, the codes are here interpreted as those characters –whether in the form of recurring patterns or aesthetic choices, technical solutions, vocabulary, etc.– that define the specificity of a practice. As the DNA of an office, and not just of its principal, as Rem Koolhaas argues (Winston, 2016), they articulate across different levels depending on the context within which they are shared: spanning from the ones used within the practice itself –forming the basis for collaboration between different project team members;– to those adopted externally to communicate with both clients and an extended community of practice. Differences in terms of codes might parallel diverse methods for their investigation. Indeed, for the former, the use of an ethnographic approach capable of unpacking specificities from within seems to be the most adequate –i.e., revealing how the implicit values of a practice are transferred into form through a collective process mediated by multiple actors;– for the latter, instead, it would be more proper to employ public occasions as a pretext through which to decipher a shared “language.” (Eco, 1976).   In general, the paper argues that codification processes are necessarily conditioned by the context in which they take place, by the positioning within the disciplinary debate, and by the actors (Latour and Yaneva. 2008) participating in their development. These closely interrelated aspects constitute the tacit knowledge inherent to a practice. Hence, although capable of changing over time, such knowledge is a unique and characterized product for an office. At the same time, it is the contribution that each firm provides in shaping its community of practice, whose shared knowledge unfolds through exchanges and encounters.
Claudia Mainardi
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Decoding a Practice’s DNA: Multiple registers of tacit knowledge

Claudia Mainardi
ABSTRACT
In the manifold spectrum of how tacit knowledge can be conceived in architecture, the contribution aims to investigate that embedded in the architects' design process by reflecting on the codes they employ.   If the vectors are tools or communicative materials –i.e., drawings, sketches, models, texts, etc.– used for transmission, the codes are here interpreted as those characters –whether in the form of recurring patterns or aesthetic choices, technical solutions, vocabulary, etc.– that define the specificity of a practice. As the DNA of an office, and not just of its principal, as Rem Koolhaas argues (Winston, 2016), they articulate across different levels depending on the context within which they are shared: spanning from the ones used within the practice itself –forming the basis for collaboration between different project team members;– to those adopted externally to communicate with both clients and an extended community of practice. Differences in terms of codes might parallel diverse methods for their investigation. Indeed, for the former, the use of an ethnographic approach capable of unpacking specificities from within seems to be the most adequate –i.e., revealing how the implicit values of a practice are transferred into form through a collective process mediated by multiple actors;– for the latter, instead, it would be more proper to employ public occasions as a pretext through which to decipher a shared “language.” (Eco, 1976).   In general, the paper argues that codification processes are necessarily conditioned by the context in which they take place, by the positioning within the disciplinary debate, and by the actors (Latour and Yaneva. 2008) participating in their development. These closely interrelated aspects constitute the tacit knowledge inherent to a practice. Hence, although capable of changing over time, such knowledge is a unique and characterized product for an office. At the same time, it is the contribution that each firm provides in shaping its community of practice, whose shared knowledge unfolds through exchanges and encounters.
Book chapter Open Access Publication

2021

Teaching Design in a Post-Rainbow Nation A South African Reflection on the Limits and Opportunities of Design Praxis

Example co-developed code of engagement (Author 2017), © Jhono Bennett
ABSTRACT
There has been an intense discourse on the relationship between inter-stakeholder university engagements, or service learning, and the broader society that South African universities claim to serve over the past decade in both local and international academia. The inherent problem within these power structures, the challenges to achieving mutually beneficial project outcomes and the growing concern of vulnerable, unheard institutional and individual voices are critical factors. The recognition of these dynamics within the emerging field of design research and design-led teaching is less nuanced in these debates. Training institutions of architecture have a rich history of undertaking service-learning initiatives to create value and learning for both the students and the stakeholders of such projects. Still, in South Africa, they are only now seen through a post-rainbow nation lens. The FeesMustFall movement is primarily driving this change. Larger institutions are recognising previously marginalised voices that now find traction in learning and practice across South Africa. This chapter reflects the author’s experience with emergent views and concerns as a researcher, lecturer and spatial design practitioner in Johannesburg. This section centres on learning regarding city-making in Southern Africa, and it presents two case studies followed by a discussion of growth opportunities.
Orli Setton, Eric Wright, Claudia Morgado, Blanca Calvo, residents and leaders of Denver Informal Settlement and the UJ Professional Practice students from 2013 to 2017.
Book chapter Open Access Publication

2021

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Teaching Design in a Post-Rainbow Nation A South African Reflection on the Limits and Opportunities of Design Praxis

Orli Setton, Eric Wright, Claudia Morgado, Blanca Calvo, residents and leaders of Denver Informal Settlement and the UJ Professional Practice students from 2013 to 2017.
Example co-developed code of engagement (Author 2017), © Jhono Bennett
© Jhono Bennett
Challenging practice students engaging in the workshop debate (The author’s photos), © Jhono Bennett
Students and staff of AT working with Denver residents on the Action Research Studio (Author’s photos), © Jhono Bennett
ABSTRACT
There has been an intense discourse on the relationship between inter-stakeholder university engagements, or service learning, and the broader society that South African universities claim to serve over the past decade in both local and international academia. The inherent problem within these power structures, the challenges to achieving mutually beneficial project outcomes and the growing concern of vulnerable, unheard institutional and individual voices are critical factors. The recognition of these dynamics within the emerging field of design research and design-led teaching is less nuanced in these debates. Training institutions of architecture have a rich history of undertaking service-learning initiatives to create value and learning for both the students and the stakeholders of such projects. Still, in South Africa, they are only now seen through a post-rainbow nation lens. The FeesMustFall movement is primarily driving this change. Larger institutions are recognising previously marginalised voices that now find traction in learning and practice across South Africa. This chapter reflects the author’s experience with emergent views and concerns as a researcher, lecturer and spatial design practitioner in Johannesburg. This section centres on learning regarding city-making in Southern Africa, and it presents two case studies followed by a discussion of growth opportunities.
Book chapter Interview Open Access Publication

Shot/Reverse Shot: A conversation on architecture, design and the climate emergency

A Conversation on Architecture, Design and the Climate Emergency with Rania Ghosn, El Hadi Jazairy & Peg Rawes facilitated by Rodney Harrison (RH)
Peg Rawes
Book chapter Interview Open Access Publication

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Shot/Reverse Shot: A conversation on architecture, design and the climate emergency

Peg Rawes
A Conversation on Architecture, Design and the Climate Emergency with Rania Ghosn, El Hadi Jazairy & Peg Rawes facilitated by Rodney Harrison (RH)
Book chapter TACK Book

Hunting Tacit Knowledge: Encounters in architectural education at ILAUD and ETH

ABSTRACT
Tacit knowledge in architectural education is slippery. It encompasses a broad range of unconscious, embodied, social and otherwise hidden forms of knowing. On one hand, this means that it manifests in different ways depending on the pedagogical format or context. On the other, it resists explanation through the traditional, and largely explicit, tools of academic writing. Therefore, rather than seeking to define it, this paper proposes three approaches for locating and describing it. First, forms of tacit knowing—which we rely on, often without thinking, in our studio, school, or regional culture—become more visible in “moments of encounter” between communities. Second, discussions and negotiations of tacit knowledge often occur through architectural materials: drawings, models, texts, buildings. Third, “moments of tacit encounter” require more evocative and speculative methods of writing and representation, with different evidentiary standards. To test these approaches, this paper narrates two “moments of encounter” as case studies, encompassing different pedagogical formats, actors, writing methods, and revealing different forms of tacit knowledge.   In 2020, I arrived at ETH Zurich, where I began an autoethnographic study of tacit knowledge in discussions between critics across design studios. I was drawn to the realistic models of Studio Caruso, which I first encountered in my architectural studies in Australia. There, they represented a hitherto unimaginable departure from model abstraction. In Zurich, though, some critics were less dazzled, questioning the labor they required. Elsewhere, realistic models had been at the center of right-wing outrage over a kiosk designed by Caruso’s office in Escher-Wyss Platz in 2007. Around these models, the tacit architectural expectations of various groups seemed to reveal itself.   In 2021, I organized a summer school in Rotterdam on summer schools. Over five days, we re-enacted a charette exercise originally set for the 1986 edition of the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design (ILAUD): the summer workshops founded by Giancarlo de Carlo in Urbino. Summer schools are ephemeral in nature—intense, productive, social, life-changing, but only for a few weeks—leaving little evidence of their tacit dimension for us to study today. Re-enacting it ourselves, coming from different educational backgrounds, we started to understand something of what it must have felt like in 1986. We experienced the clashes and arguments, and overcome them through drawings or by discussing images, by talking in those informal moments on the staircase or over lunch.
Hamish Lonergan
Book chapter TACK Book

November 1, 2022

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Hunting Tacit Knowledge: Encounters in architectural education at ILAUD and ETH

Hamish Lonergan
ABSTRACT
Tacit knowledge in architectural education is slippery. It encompasses a broad range of unconscious, embodied, social and otherwise hidden forms of knowing. On one hand, this means that it manifests in different ways depending on the pedagogical format or context. On the other, it resists explanation through the traditional, and largely explicit, tools of academic writing. Therefore, rather than seeking to define it, this paper proposes three approaches for locating and describing it. First, forms of tacit knowing—which we rely on, often without thinking, in our studio, school, or regional culture—become more visible in “moments of encounter” between communities. Second, discussions and negotiations of tacit knowledge often occur through architectural materials: drawings, models, texts, buildings. Third, “moments of tacit encounter” require more evocative and speculative methods of writing and representation, with different evidentiary standards. To test these approaches, this paper narrates two “moments of encounter” as case studies, encompassing different pedagogical formats, actors, writing methods, and revealing different forms of tacit knowledge.   In 2020, I arrived at ETH Zurich, where I began an autoethnographic study of tacit knowledge in discussions between critics across design studios. I was drawn to the realistic models of Studio Caruso, which I first encountered in my architectural studies in Australia. There, they represented a hitherto unimaginable departure from model abstraction. In Zurich, though, some critics were less dazzled, questioning the labor they required. Elsewhere, realistic models had been at the center of right-wing outrage over a kiosk designed by Caruso’s office in Escher-Wyss Platz in 2007. Around these models, the tacit architectural expectations of various groups seemed to reveal itself.   In 2021, I organized a summer school in Rotterdam on summer schools. Over five days, we re-enacted a charette exercise originally set for the 1986 edition of the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design (ILAUD): the summer workshops founded by Giancarlo de Carlo in Urbino. Summer schools are ephemeral in nature—intense, productive, social, life-changing, but only for a few weeks—leaving little evidence of their tacit dimension for us to study today. Re-enacting it ourselves, coming from different educational backgrounds, we started to understand something of what it must have felt like in 1986. We experienced the clashes and arguments, and overcome them through drawings or by discussing images, by talking in those informal moments on the staircase or over lunch.