Probing Tacit Knowledge

The three PhD candidates working on this research cluster will probe concrete cases – these can be architectural projects as well as architectural practices – to determine how tacit knowledge operates within European architectural culture. These PhD candidates will investigate the implicit codes and conventions that are used in contemporary architectural practice and examine what role tacit knowledge plays in negotiating the complex assemblages – of modern technologies, new media, social movements and economic and environmental challenges, etc. – that need to be addressed in architectural practice, design and teaching. This second research cluster contains three individual PhD projects:

  1. Individual PhD project: Practices

  2. Individual PhD project: Codes

  3. Individual PhD project: Assemblages


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 Civil Engineering at Bergische Universität Wuppertal; The Department of Architecture and Urban Studies at Politecnico Milano; and the Institute for Art and Architecture at Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien.

For more information about this research cluster, please contact: Christoph Grafe, Gennaro Postiglione, and Angelika Schnell.


This PhD project examines ways in which tacit knowledge is articulated in architectural practice by looking at concrete cases. These can be either architectural projects or architectural practices. The PhD candidate working on this project will focus on how the tacit dimension of design practice generates a specific and instrumental type of knowledge that cannot be obtained through other methods of knowledge production. The objective of this PhD project is to define a set of methods and strategies to understand how tacit knowledge is applied in architectural practice.


This PhD project focuses on the specific codes and conventions that tacit modes of knowledge-transmission employ. Certain codes, such as those relating to artistic and perceptual dimensions in architecture, seem to be addressed more adequately by tacit ways of knowing. The PhD candidate working on this project will examine the nature and efficacy of these codes, their conditioning role for architectural cultures, their performance within specific contexts and within local architectural cultures, investigating also places and occasions that convey the codification of diverse forms of architectural knowledge. Attention is also given to the ways in which these codes are transmitted/transferred and communicated to clients, builders and a wider community of stakeholders and the general public.


This PhD project will focus on the capacity of tacit knowledge to integrate different actors within the domain of architecture and the different forms of knowledge that they possess. Particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries, the architectural design process has become strongly entangled with a multitude of new actors, anonymous and/or specific, such as unknown future inhabitants and technologies, heritage consultants, disability experts, safety specialists, etc. The PhD candidate working on this project will examine how this complex assemblage of connections and the tacit knowledge that it entails can be recognized and examined.