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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.

14 Objects

Lecture / Talk Video

TACK Talks #3: Architecture and its Tacit Dimensions

© TACK
Held at the Institut für Kunst und Architektur, Akademie der Bildenden Kunst Wien, this is the initiating event in the 3rd round of TACK talks: Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing 
Lara Schrijver Tom Avermaete Angelika Schnell Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Institute for Art and Architecture
Lecture / Talk Video

October 11, 2021

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TACK Talks #3: Architecture and its Tacit Dimensions

Lara Schrijver Tom Avermaete Angelika Schnell Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Institute for Art and Architecture
© TACK
Held at the Institut für Kunst und Architektur, Akademie der Bildenden Kunst Wien, this is the initiating event in the 3rd round of TACK talks: Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing 
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.
Drawing Exhibition TACK Exhibition Object

Eilfried Huth’s Bauhütte

The Austrian architect Eilfried Huth, a pioneer of participatory housing, used this notion to express his reliance on the embodied knowledge of future inhabitants who gathered as an advocacy group to design a new housing estate called Eschensiedlung,1972-1990 in Deutschlandsberg, Styria.
Monika Platzer Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW)
Drawing Exhibition TACK Exhibition Object

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Eilfried Huth’s Bauhütte

Monika Platzer Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW)
© TACK
The Austrian architect Eilfried Huth, a pioneer of participatory housing, used this notion to express his reliance on the embodied knowledge of future inhabitants who gathered as an advocacy group to design a new housing estate called Eschensiedlung,1972-1990 in Deutschlandsberg, Styria.
Conference Paper Paper Session ACTORS TACK Conference Proceedings

In Quest of Meaning – Revisiting the discourse around “non-pedigreed” architecture.

ABSTRACT
In their practice, architects never refer to something as “pedigreed” to describe their work. However, during the 1960s, Bernard Rudofsky introduced the term "non-pedigreed" architecture, which he attributed to edifices not designed by formally trained architects, but for various reasons, their status exceeds that of the "mere building". As a fact, since explicit knowledge around “non-pedigreed” architecture is scarce, architects rely mostly on interpretations. This contribution revisits several of these interpretations through the perspective of its "actors," referring to the scholarly work of selected architects, and it is structured into three parts. The first section introduces the motivations behind the study of "non-pedigreed" architecture, delving into questions of aesthetics and authorship. The second part explores the fruitful contradictions arising from the first section and focuses on the relationship between vernacular architecture and the concept of Time, as well as the development of craft skills. Finally, the third part examines specific case studies where the value of vernacular architecture shifts from being merely a reference point to becoming an integral part of the architectural production process.
Vasileios Chanis
Conference Paper Paper Session ACTORS TACK Conference Proceedings

June 21, 2023

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In Quest of Meaning – Revisiting the discourse around “non-pedigreed” architecture.

Vasileios Chanis
Figure 1 and Figure 2: Jacques Tati, Mon Oncle, 1958 (Directed and produced by Jacques Tati)
ABSTRACT
In their practice, architects never refer to something as “pedigreed” to describe their work. However, during the 1960s, Bernard Rudofsky introduced the term "non-pedigreed" architecture, which he attributed to edifices not designed by formally trained architects, but for various reasons, their status exceeds that of the "mere building". As a fact, since explicit knowledge around “non-pedigreed” architecture is scarce, architects rely mostly on interpretations. This contribution revisits several of these interpretations through the perspective of its "actors," referring to the scholarly work of selected architects, and it is structured into three parts. The first section introduces the motivations behind the study of "non-pedigreed" architecture, delving into questions of aesthetics and authorship. The second part explores the fruitful contradictions arising from the first section and focuses on the relationship between vernacular architecture and the concept of Time, as well as the development of craft skills. Finally, the third part examines specific case studies where the value of vernacular architecture shifts from being merely a reference point to becoming an integral part of the architectural production process.
Exhibition Model TACK Exhibition Object

Maputo Land Rover

Between 1998 and 2005, we engaged in the design and construction of the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique. Offering an opportunity to tap into local tacit knowledge, this project revealed the importance of culturally specific knowledge and skills in design and building projects.
Kees Kaan
Exhibition Model TACK Exhibition Object

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Maputo Land Rover

Kees Kaan
© TACK
Between 1998 and 2005, we engaged in the design and construction of the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique. Offering an opportunity to tap into local tacit knowledge, this project revealed the importance of culturally specific knowledge and skills in design and building projects.
Newsletter Resources

The TACK Conference and TACK Exhibition 19-21 June 2023 in Zürich

After three intensive years of research and exchanges, the TACK project reached its last big milestone: the TACK Conference welcomed 150 people at ETH Zürich to discuss tacit knowledge in architecture and its various forms.
TACK Network ETH Zürich, Department of Architecture
Newsletter Resources

July 13, 2023

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The TACK Conference and TACK Exhibition 19-21 June 2023 in Zürich

TACK Network ETH Zürich, Department of Architecture
© TACK
After three intensive years of research and exchanges, the TACK project reached its last big milestone: the TACK Conference welcomed 150 people at ETH Zürich to discuss tacit knowledge in architecture and its various forms.
Image Interview Reflection

Echoes from the Venice Biennale TACK Visit

Image 01 “First Image”, Serbian Pavilion, Caendia Wijnbelt, © Caendia Wijnbelt
Caendia Wijnbelt and Paula Strunden reflect upon two images of the Venice Biennale 2021.
Paula Strunden Caendia Wijnbelt
Image Interview Reflection

November 1, 2021

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Echoes from the Venice Biennale TACK Visit

Paula Strunden Caendia Wijnbelt
Image 01 “First Image”, Serbian Pavilion, Caendia Wijnbelt, © Caendia Wijnbelt
Image 02 “Another Image”, Brazilian Pavilion, Caendia Wijnbelt, © Caendia Wijnbelt
Caendia Wijnbelt and Paula Strunden reflect upon two images of the Venice Biennale 2021.
Exhibition Model TACK Exhibition Object

Glassplitter / Broken glass

Near the end of the previous century, waste recycling became more common in Switzerland – not only for paper, but also metal and glass. While developing the plans for the Kirchner Museum Davos in 1989, we had the idea to use waste glass as roof covering for the glazed building, instead of gravel or sheet metal. Glass has a similar weight to gravel and is therefore well suited for ballasting flat roofs. Without much effort, the cullet could be taken from the recycling process before remelting.
Annette Gigon Mike Guyer
Exhibition Model TACK Exhibition Object

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Glassplitter / Broken glass

Annette Gigon Mike Guyer
© TACK
Near the end of the previous century, waste recycling became more common in Switzerland – not only for paper, but also metal and glass. While developing the plans for the Kirchner Museum Davos in 1989, we had the idea to use waste glass as roof covering for the glazed building, instead of gravel or sheet metal. Glass has a similar weight to gravel and is therefore well suited for ballasting flat roofs. Without much effort, the cullet could be taken from the recycling process before remelting.
Lecture / Talk

Stories of Houses: investigating ordinary practices in post-War Milan

In her talk Stories of Houses: investigating ordinary practices in post-War Milan (held in the framework of TACK training axis 2, module 1 “Probing Tacit Knowledge” on 26 April 2021), Gaia Caramellino questioned the practices of tacit knowledge embedded in the particular cultural network engaged in the design and construction of post-WWII Milan ordinary residential environment.
Gaia Caramellino
Lecture / Talk

April 26, 2021

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Stories of Houses: investigating ordinary practices in post-War Milan

Gaia Caramellino
In her talk Stories of Houses: investigating ordinary practices in post-War Milan (held in the framework of TACK training axis 2, module 1 “Probing Tacit Knowledge” on 26 April 2021), Gaia Caramellino questioned the practices of tacit knowledge embedded in the particular cultural network engaged in the design and construction of post-WWII Milan ordinary residential environment.
Conference Paper Open Access Publication

Explicitly Tacit: Polanyi’s “Tacit Knowledge” in the Architectural Theory of Charney and Rowe

ABSTRACT
The scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi coined the term “tacit knowledge” in 1958 to describe a type of unconscious, embodied and social knowledge that could not be explicitly taught through rules or rote-learning. He argued, instead, that some knowledge relied on practice, critique, socialisation and personal biography. In this sense, something like tacit knowledge has long played an important role in architectural education — where skill is acquired through (re)drawing, writing and model-making, reviewed by teachers and peers — even before Polanyi named it. Yet, for all the affinities between design education and tacit knowledge, Polanyi’s epistemology has rarely been directly addressed in architectural theory. This paper considers two exceptions in the writing and pedagogy of Melvin Charney and Colin Rowe in the 1970s. Both figures used Polanyi’s philosophy to propose alternatives to the “ultra” positions of Modernism. Charney argued that Quebecois vernacular architecture reflected a tacit, collective building culture that was inseparable from the embodied construction practices of craftspeople. This could not be made explicit in construction manuals or histories; students had to discover it through drawing and building themselves. Meanwhile, Rowe credited Polanyi’s Beyond Nihilism (1960) in the gestation of Collage City (1978, with Fred Koetter). Polanyi’s essay argued that individual freedom was important in making new discoveries, but that individuals still had a responsibility to go beyond themselves by conforming to collective norms and standards. This, too, found a parallel in Rowe and Koetter’s rejection of Modernist utopianism. At the same time, a close reading of these minor encounters reveals certain continuities and misalignments between Rowe and Charney’s interpretation and Polanyi’s own position as a prominent anti-Communist and contributor to early neoliberalism. Ultimately, this paper aims to clarify the role of tacit knowledge in the theory of these two architect/educators and, in doing so, simultaneously clarify the relationship between tacit knowledge and architectural pedagogy more broadly.
Hamish Lonergan
Conference Paper Open Access Publication

November 10, 2021

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Explicitly Tacit: Polanyi’s “Tacit Knowledge” in the Architectural Theory of Charney and Rowe

Hamish Lonergan
ABSTRACT
The scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi coined the term “tacit knowledge” in 1958 to describe a type of unconscious, embodied and social knowledge that could not be explicitly taught through rules or rote-learning. He argued, instead, that some knowledge relied on practice, critique, socialisation and personal biography. In this sense, something like tacit knowledge has long played an important role in architectural education — where skill is acquired through (re)drawing, writing and model-making, reviewed by teachers and peers — even before Polanyi named it. Yet, for all the affinities between design education and tacit knowledge, Polanyi’s epistemology has rarely been directly addressed in architectural theory. This paper considers two exceptions in the writing and pedagogy of Melvin Charney and Colin Rowe in the 1970s. Both figures used Polanyi’s philosophy to propose alternatives to the “ultra” positions of Modernism. Charney argued that Quebecois vernacular architecture reflected a tacit, collective building culture that was inseparable from the embodied construction practices of craftspeople. This could not be made explicit in construction manuals or histories; students had to discover it through drawing and building themselves. Meanwhile, Rowe credited Polanyi’s Beyond Nihilism (1960) in the gestation of Collage City (1978, with Fred Koetter). Polanyi’s essay argued that individual freedom was important in making new discoveries, but that individuals still had a responsibility to go beyond themselves by conforming to collective norms and standards. This, too, found a parallel in Rowe and Koetter’s rejection of Modernist utopianism. At the same time, a close reading of these minor encounters reveals certain continuities and misalignments between Rowe and Charney’s interpretation and Polanyi’s own position as a prominent anti-Communist and contributor to early neoliberalism. Ultimately, this paper aims to clarify the role of tacit knowledge in the theory of these two architect/educators and, in doing so, simultaneously clarify the relationship between tacit knowledge and architectural pedagogy more broadly.
Exhibition TACK Exhibition Object

Tactiles

Tactiles are relational objects that foster interactive approaches of un-learning restrictive spatial codes, re-learning through encounters of intimacy, embodiment and connectedness, and co-learning through shared performative experiences.
Katharina Kasinger
Exhibition TACK Exhibition Object

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Tactiles

Katharina Kasinger
© TACK
Tactiles are relational objects that foster interactive approaches of un-learning restrictive spatial codes, re-learning through encounters of intimacy, embodiment and connectedness, and co-learning through shared performative experiences.
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 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.