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Incipient Raum

Masters thesis
Promotor: Tomas Ooms
Contact: Tomas.Ooms@kuleuven.be


UNKNOWN EDIFICE IIThe Urban Condition 8
In Making / Detail, Structure, Material


The activity and focus of an architectural practice fluctuates. Some periods you are mainly working on competitions and at other times you are spending most of your energy exploring how things are made, and how to make them. Currently in the design practice, it is the latter: We are preoccupied with the making of things. This question of ‘how to make’ applies to the design process as well as to the actual construction (details) of a project before bringing it to site. Through making and prototyping, different ways to reduce material are explored. Experiments with unexpected and un-anticipated ways of reusing materials are ongoing. What specific details can be developed and what kind of material can be proposed so that the combination of material and detail enhances the intent and concept of the project? Through making, we learn. Making is about bringing together ‘Form’, ‘Matter’ and ‘Concept’.

At the same time, as a design research practice, we aim to contribute to the realisation of Civic Spaces. We are interested in the capacity of architecture to facilitate Civic Space. We are eager to see how particular spatial relationships and spatial conditions play in important role in this. One such a spatial condition we are curious about is the Incipient Raum…

These two lines of inquiry, ‘Making’ and ‘Incipient Raum’, emerge out of the current activities in design practice and form a practice-based motivation for the Master Dissertation 2020-2021 Incipient Raum: Unknown Edifice II: The Urban Condition 8: In the Making.


In this studio you will develop your work in an environment of exploration that is based in the production of well-crafted architectural documents (drawings, models, sections, details, schemes, diagrams…) that merge thinking and making. The studio combines the very factual and situated knowledge (a real site) with a more fundamental and experimental exploration of architecture. This year, Incipient Raum Studio runs in parallel and engages with the Incipient Detail spring semester studio at the Milano Politecnico.


The Incipient Raum studio is a field that is created by juxtaposing and conjoining different fragments, artefacts and concepts. What you will bring to the ‘table’ (literal and figuratively), will rearrange that field. It will change the relationships and proportions between the parts and ideas with the goal of making it your own field of practice. The field finds it origin a curiosity and an eagerness to explore something unknown. The table of artefacts, fragments and concepts will play a central role in the studio and will evolve throughout the semesters to a full-fledged –spatial-knowledge landscape. (See the presentation for examples of previous results, link below)


INICIPIENT RAUM Studio presentation



Macbeth (f): Exploring the Possibilities of Polykatoikia as (Gradient) Public Interior​ by Asli Eylem Kolbas Selected for the Mamut Art Project Exhibition in Istanbul

Aslı Eylem Kolbaş transposes the modernist architecture movement in the first half of the 20th century with Shakespeare’s Macbeth in her series of 12 digital drawings. The setting is present-day Athens, which saw an influx of residents in the population exchange of 1923. Modernist architecture, especially Le Corbusier’s “Maison Dom-ino” model was implemented by the city […]


Felix Yuri Varaschini: Use in Decay; The illicit space of free time; The Amicale Solvay in Charleroi (BE)

The illicit space of free time is an account of a journey, an urban exploration, the narrative is composed of two volumes: in the first one explores Charleroi and its territory and the themes of foreignness, marginality and vacancy arise; in the second volume the journey lingers over the Amicale Solvay in Couillet and the […]


Marta Gruca: About:blank: In a Search for the (Other) Incipience: Twelve Design Metaphors: Noisy-Le-Grand (FR)

A journey of constant inquiry. What is a border? How are antonyms synonyms? How can the ugly seduce? What is ugly then? How can the in-between be isolated? How ‘belonging to everyone’ belongs to no one? Is empty really that empty? About:blank embraces a meta reflection about the fields of exploration – the unknown room, […]


A Flavour of the International Jury Event at the Incipient Raum Studio

The Incipient Raum Studio values the physicality of the architectural document. The final presentation is an exhibition event in which you will showcase your well-crafted documents and through them, your dissertation project.


Incipient Raum Studio in Residence

Each year at the start of the master dissertation studio semester, the Incipient Raum Studio goes in residence at an architectural office. Last year we were taking up shop at CRDBM in Brussels. During this residence, you will work on synthesising your first findings and proposals while you are embedded in an actual architectural practice. There are […]


Alessandro Cugola: Eternal Holiday. RIBA Silver Medal nominee

Eternal Holiday investigates human tendencies in referring to landscape and uses architecture as a medium to further experiment upon this relationship. The South Funen archipelago in Denmark is considered as a site of this exploration. Not only does it allow a discussion on themes such as isolation and ‘touristification’, but it also begins to engage a […]


Zuzanna Siedlecka: On Thresholding: Mediating and Negotiating the Sides of a Tourist City: Bruges Case (BE)

On Thresholding as a design-driven inquiry starts in and on Bruges as a touristic city. It is a portrait of the contradicting conditions of a touristic destination: the nostalgia for the past and the pace of the present; the city for inhabitants and the city for strangers. The mechanisms of tourism and heritage protection are the two […]


Leonie Van Bellingen: The Unexcavated: Architectures of Curiosity: Exploring a Spatial Condition, Copenhagen (DK)

As human beings we are driven by the desire to discover, by our curiosity of the unknown. The paradox is that when aware of an unknown space, and curiosity leads to the discovery, it disappears. It is not unknown anymore. The process of exploring however, is a spatial experience in itself, where the qualities of the […]


Marine Mamikonian: Architectural Documentary of observations; A Series of Architecture Portraits; Maastricht (NL) and Gent (BE)

The age of anxiety.. Like any other social phenomenon, architecture reflects the current state of its inhabitants. When the society is facing the global crisis such as pandemic, the urban life is transforming as well. As opposed to the intention of any city, which is characterised by the permanency and the poetry of its encounters, […]


Alberto Bovo: Liberated Spaces; Deconstructing superflous architecture to reinterpret the city; Urbino (IT)

Liberated Spaces as a designerly exploration have as their subject the city of Urbino, a small town in central Italy. It is characterised by an extremely well-preserved and well-protected architectural heritage. Besides its heritage, Urbino is also known for its university. It is one of the most ancient in Italy. Cut off from the major […]


Alwies Vandaele: Shaping the hidden: A strategy for the Holy Heart Basilica of Koekelberg, Brussels (BE)

Shaping the hidden How to get more insight in the process of a design is one of the main questions in this dissertation. How are things made? In architectural presentations or critics we only look at a finished product. The process towards it is mostly hidden. By exposing the process, we can learn more about […]


Vincent Leonard Matzmorr: Unlocking Civic Potential in Ostend (BE): The Europacentrum Case

On Coasting In current multidisciplinary research on coastal regions of the world, the binary understanding between land and sea has gradually been replaced with the notion of a process: Coasting. “Coasting is something, which happens; it is mobile and fluid, responding to changing conditions and balances. Instead of understanding it as a battle for territory […]


Bartlomiej Grzesznik: Inhabiting Liminal Spaces; Learning from Walden 7; Barcelona (ES)

Inhabiting Liminal Spaces; Learning from Walden 7; Studies; Spatial reflections in the context of architecture and digital media based on the studies of Walden 7. The influence of visual culture, which is an inseparable element of digital media, has a significant impact on society’s perception of the real world. Living in times when we are […]


Ying zhao: On the Making of Home; In search of meaningful space

It is small but also big, it is curl up into oneself but also open up to the universe. It has unpredictable depth but also reachable. On the Making of Home is a designerly exploration under the realm of phenomenology of architecture, and specifically based the work of Gaston Bacherlard of his book The Poetics of Space. […]


Orçun Yazıcı: Redefining Boundaries; Democratic Space in Trabzon (TR)

Trabzon is a coastal city on the banks of the Black Sea in Turkey. Squeezed between the mountains and the sea, there is an old mosque overlooking the horizon: the Trabzon Hagia Sopia… The aim of Redefining Boundaries is to discuss the role of democratic space in contemporary Trabzon. The idea is to develop a […]