Summer school

The two-week intensive summer school for early stage researchers (ESR) will take place in September 2021, and will be organized by the early stage researcher working on the ‘Transmitting Tacit Knowledge‘ research project, Hamish Lonergan (ETH). This summer school will focus on the role that tacit knowledge plays in architectural education, and (particularly) on the ways in which it is transferred.

At the start of this two-week summer school, a customized reader will be made available, which outlines the aim and tasks of the summer school.

The call for participation in the summer school will open in June 2021. A detailed program will be published beforehand.

Overview

The TACK summer school seeks to understand the tacit dimension of the international summer school itself. During the Twentieth Century, the architectural summer school assumed an important role in bringing together students and teachers from different architectural schools, albeit predominantly Western ones. Such summer schools represent rare moments of direct encounter and confrontation between different architectural contexts. Through their interaction, overlap, and conflict, we can understand the often-unconscious role that tacit knowledge played in different countries and pedagogical systems—including Beaux-Arts, Polytechnic, Bauhaus, and hybrid models—and how that tacit knowledge was transferred and synthesised through the summer school.

The TACK summer school seeks to explore this dynamic relationship between tacit knowledge and the international summer schools from both the macro and micro scales. First, on the macro level, participants will reflect on the role of tacit knowledge in summer schools, framed as a distinctive Twentieth Century educational format. They will produce an archive of summer school case studies, based on literature reviews and archival research in the HNI holdings, exploring traces of the summer school through figures such as Bakema, van Eyck, Hertzberger, and the Smithsons.

Second, on the micro scale, participants will re-enact and perform one specific case study: the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design (ILAUD) residential workshops in Urbino (1976-1981). The TACK summer school will simulate the format of ILAUD in a new urban context—Rotterdam—involving a program of seminars, lectures, walking tours and site visits. At the same time, participants will use these activities to inform a collaborative design project, ‘performed’ in the style of one the schools that participated in the original ILAUD summer school. Participants will reflect on the various approaches to tacit knowledge embodied in these educational contexts and backgrounds.

Motivation

In bringing together different ‘communities of tacit knowledge’, the summer school is a particularly fruitful site to explore tacit knowledge in architecture: a moment where the tacit comes to the surface. At the same time, while there is increasing scholarly interest in some international summer schools as isolated, recurring events—particularly the CIAM summer school and ILAUD—there has been little study of this pedagogical format more generally.

This TACK Summer School will bring together these two strands of research to consider what role tacit knowledge played in these 20th Century summer schools. In doing so, it theorises the summer school as a persistent moment of encounter between different ‘communities of tacit knowledge’. It will explore how tacit knowledge operated in the summer school and approach an understanding of the culturally-specific tacit knowledge embedded in the specific ‘communities of tacit knowledge’ themselves, including ETH Zurich.

Finally, the summer school will test re-enactment and performance as a tool for uncovering the tacit dimension of historical pedagogies. The exact mechanism for transferring the tacit is notoriously difficult to study through primary sources alone: processes easily recorded in archives are unlikely to be tacit at all. Re-enactment will allow for direct observation of the processes of transferring the tacit in the restricted timeframe of a summer school, while allowing participants to reflect on differences to their own experiences and tacit knowledge.