Keywords Detail, Structure, Materiality, Drawing, Fabrication, 1:1, Tactility, Context, Process, Phenomenology, Facture, Personality.

Architecture resides in the act of making

From this mindset, the Craftsmanship engagement brings together a number of design studios, research projects and architectural practices that view craftship as the driving force of a coherent and intelligent design process.

The architectural interventions that are developed in the Craftsmanship engagement explore different ‘forms of making’. They investigate how craftship can address complicated and urgent spatial themes in an increased complexity of the world. In doing so, architectural craftship develops new ways of responding to spatial urgencies.

The mindset of the craftsperson is to merge thinking and making in an interchangeable and overlapping manner. The Craftsmanship engagement explores this intricate relationship through design.

Craftship is about conceiving through making as well as making through conceiving. The architectural practice is in making, producing and finding fulfilment in the act of doing. And doing so purposely and with intent.

Design-thinking in the Craftsmanship engagement sees making as a way to create an understanding of the world. The manner, act and process of making in a highly ‘personal’ way is paramount and takes centre stage in the design-thinking of the Craftsmanship engagement. Within the Craftsmanship engagement, craftship is a way of systematically exploring the field of architecture. It is a way of making discoveries, generating knowledge and of reaching new insights. Three main perspectives structure these systematic explorations: Understanding and contextualising craftship; Craftship as a Methodology and Craftship in Materiality, Detail and Construction.

Depending on your position, architecture is an exact science, an art, it belongs to the humanities, or it is a set of competences. Acknowledging this myriad and multifaceted appreciation of the field of architecture, the Craftsmanship engagement highlights and celebrates that architecture is a set of diverse competences and skills. It is a rich, nuanced, delicate craft, learned through training, repeated exercise, making, producing, observing and engaging. It is Perceptive craftship; Conceptual craftship; Constructive craftship; Self-critical craftship; Dialectical craftship; Risky craftship, Extended craftship, Inventive craftship and Intellectual craftship…


We prefer to talk about ‘craftship’ instead of ‘craftsmanship’ for two reasons: the first one is that ‘craftship’ is gender-neutral. The second is that ‘craftship’ more than Craftsmanship, implies an aptness, a competence in which the craftsperson excels. In our communication we use Craftsmanship to indicate the engagement and craftship when we describe the competence.

Tomas Ooms
Curator Craftsmanship Engagement, Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven
March 2021

Image: Camera Lucida, Source Unknown









CRAFTSMANSHIP master studios