Approaching Tacit Knowledge

The three PhD candidates working on this research cluster will approach tacit knowledge from a theoretical and methodological perspective by investigating to what extent tacit knowledge in architecture compares to tacit knowledge in other disciplines. These PhD candidates will map, dissect, and critically discuss the perspectives that have thus far been developed to conceptualize tacit knowledge in architecture and examine how material vectors, such as drawings, plans and models function as mediators of tacit knowledge. This first research cluster contains three individual PhD projects:

  1. Individual PhD project: Horizons

  2. Individual PhD project: Frames

  3. Individual PhD project: Vectors


The PhD candidates participating in this research cluster will be located at, and draw on the expertise of three academic institutions: The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft; the School of Architecture at KTH Stockholm; and the Oslo Centre for Critical Architecture Studies at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

For more information about this research cluster, please contact: Klaske Havik, Helena Mattsson, and Tim Anstey.


This PhD project will examine existing methods that have been developed in other disciplines to approach and explicate tacit knowledge, which is commonly disseminated in implicit, practical ways. Through a cross-disciplinary survey, the PhD candidate working on this project will evaluate how tacit knowledge is made explicit in other fields, such as industrial design, pedagogy or other artistic fields. The objective of this PhD project is to investigate how conceptualizations of tacit knowledge from other fields can be used more productively in the field of architecture.


This PhD project will develop a theoretical and historical framework for researching tacit knowledge in the field of architecture. Taking existing, yet disjointed, attempts to study the tacit dimension in architecture as a starting point the objective of this PhD project is to map an overview, and thereby create a critical discourse on tacit knowledge in spatial practices that has a bearing on a larger field of disciplines. This PhD project will thus provide frames of thinking that open for new conceptualizations of tacit knowledge in the field of architecture and concerning its outside.


Tacit knowledge does not exist as a defined repository – i.e. a collection of procedures that can be isolated and separately described – but it is matured, reiterated and adapted in the interchanges between actors involved in processes around architectural projects. Central to these processes are material vectors, such as models, drawings, specifications or minutes, which represent the project and operate in the negotiations associated with architectural design. The main objective of this PhD project is to analyze and theorize the role of these vectors in sustaining, preserving and communicating tacit knowledge.