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Supervisor(s) Tomas Ooms
Campus Gent
Language EN
Studio or individual?  Studio


Can a detail save the world?


A Detail in (the) Making

Incipit: (Latin, meaning: to take in hand, begin, commence.)

And so, it begins
Imagine an unknown room, in an unknown edifice, in an unknown city.
Then ask this question: ‘How is it made?’
This is the basis of the Incipient Raum studio.
You will start this studio by proposing a city that you have never been to before but are curious about. You will visit this city and explore local debates, topics, and concerns.
You will find yourself in plenty of unknown rooms in/around unknown buildings and you will find one space fascinating in particular.
Once you do, you will ask: How is it made?
And so, the project begins.

The Incipient Raum studio is an opportunity for you to explore your interests in the built environment and to develop critical thinking and communication skills. The studio is designed as a methodological framework that provides a certain set-up of the learning environment that guides you towards a transformative practice. 

Previous editions of the Incipient Raum
To get an idea of the possibilities offered by the Incipient Raum please check the Incipient Raum blog posts on this page. You will see the results from the previous renditions of the studio and get a view on the activities and environment of the studio workings.

The outcomes of the studio are open, allowing for students to amass agency and highly personal reflections. The studio emphasises documenting the process and decision-making, encouraging students to be highly productive across a range of media.

Throughout the (different) renditions of the Incipient Raum studio we noticed that the students’ projects gravitated around similar concerns. With consideration for these concerns four predominant themes are exposed:

The unlocking of spatial opportunities of existing spaces;
The act of observing and identifying spatial potential by means of interplay and/or extraction.

Exploring material reality and non-extractive architecture;
Investigating (the mereology of) materials (including their physical andmetaphysical properties) whereby the relationship between humans and materials transforms, ergo considering alternative accumulation of (raw) materials by pursuit of an architectural practice that does not rely on “new” material components.

Developing documentation of architecture as architecture (of documentation);
Producing architectural artefacts that document an architecture which conceive a transformative practice of architecture without constructive or deconstructive intervention.

Critically Caring: Can a detail save the world?
Studying inherent agency of details and their capacity to influence on theentirety.

Incipient as Spatial Condition
Incipient is borrowed from the Latin incipiēns: present participle of incipiō (“begin”). It is mainly used as ‘beginning to happen or develop’ or as ‘developing into a specified type or role’. Soil for instance can be incipient. This means that it contains the basis to provide for vegetation establishment. Something is present that ensures something will grow (happen later) under the right circumstances. And how about spaces? Can they be incipient? Can the idea of the incipient address urgent themes in architecture? Think for instance of adapting existing spaces or the idea of non-extractive architecture? Through architecture we transform. Not always through the production of new buildings, but more importantly, through the creation of (new) spatial relations. And agency plays a role in this. Agency has to do with performance and operationality. It fosters relationships. Agency is the capacity of an actor to act in a given environment. 

Thinking through making is the central paradigm of the studio, emphasising the idea that discovery, exploration, and design-research happens through experimentation, testing, and iteration. What is made are well-crafted documents which are essential epistemic architectural artefacts of inquiry. Thus, the studio encourages a hands-on approach to developing a coherent architectural reflection, where participants are expected to explore different materials, techniques, and forms to conduct a fundamental architectural and academic reflection.

If you have questions about this studio, do not hesitate to contact me: tomas.ooms@kuleuven.be

Visit us during the public presentations

  During the inetrnational jury you can find us in the Sint-Niklaasstraat on the fourth floor in room 421 and 415. Looking forward to seeing you there!


The fellows of the Incipient Raum visit ‘Waiting Rooms of Architecture’

  What precedes architecture? Architect and artist Malgorzata Maria Olchowskaexplores how personal and collective memories influence our view of the built environment. At the invitation of the Flanders Architecture Institute, she engages in dialogue with the collection of the Red Star Line Museum. Guided tour by the artist at the Red Star Line Museum (Antwerpen)


Mending Wall wins the HERSUS Prize on UNESCO Modern Heritage

  Ekin Başkentli’s master thesis project ‘Mending Wall‘ has been awarded by the jury of the HERSUS Prize on Modern Heritage, UNESCO. Ekin completed her thesis in the Master of Architecture under the supervision of Tomas Ooms. The HERSUS Prize on Modern Heritage is an initiative within the Erasmus+ project Enhancing of Heritage Awareness and […]


Mending Wall wins Van Hove Award 2022

  Mending Wall, Documenting as an act of maintenance: Maintaining the border wall of Divided Nicosia (North-Nicosia, Cyprus) by Ekin Bastkenli wins the Van Hove Award 2022. Here is a link to the Catalogue Raisonné


In Limbo by Kobe De Greef

“In 2023 a dictator comes to power in Brussels and decides that a wall will be built around the city. No new materials are aloud to enter or leave the city. Building materials soon become  scarce. 30 years later, we look at the notes, sketches and thoughts of a journalist who had the opportunity to […]


The funeral offices of memory: a home for dead dogs by Fiachra McCarthy

  The fortress of Montjuïc, Gerona, Spain stands as many other historical ruins, in a state of slow decay. It has been on this journey of decay since the day of its inception. The state in which the fortress can be seen today is the by-product of its rich history, a history that perhaps cannot […]


A GOOD SOLID SENSE OF MORTALITY; What bread is made of An Anthology of Material by Montage of Miscellany and the Initiation of The Anthologist Architect, by Tara McKenna

  This book is a figurative amendment to the index on the practice of architecture. It poses as a guide to an alternate practice of architecture, the anthological method. This methodology accounts for the recently unmeasurable aspects of a project, its apparently irrational data, and its irrelevant (until proven otherwise) affiliations. The issue with current […]


Dis-Close, Living together in dense urban spaces: The case of Edinburgh by Silke D’haenen

  Dis-Close documents explorations on Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The city’s distinctive natural land- scape of steep hills and deep valleys have shaped the city throughout time. Resulting in a particular topography and atmosphere. Challenges and restrictions of this dramatic landscape have caused the emergence of a unique urban fabric. These unique features are […]


To Meet Galileo on Day Fourteen, An Ecclectic Architectural Documentary: The Case of Gjilan County Prison by Gjiltinë Isufi, Laureate 2022

  To Meet Galileo on Day Fourteen is, initially, a response and an indignation to a widespread indifference towards buildings that are considered ‘architecturally insignificant’. It is often, that these buildings are the ones to hold the most valuable traces of the collective memory. The abandoned prison of Gjilan—the case study of this exploration—is the […]


Laureate 2022 and Dean’s choice for members of the Incipient Raum!

  The Incipient Raum is honoured to announce that Gjiltinë Isufi won the Laureate prize of the International Master of Architecture and that Ekin Baskentli won the Dean’s choice prize with her dissertation project Mending Wall. Congrats to the both of them.