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So Close Far Away

Master Thesis studio, 2020/2021, Brussels
Promotor: Johan Nielsen

So Close Far Away

The studio aims to explore a conceptual gap between our objectives as designers and the reality of the practice. Indeed, it is time to consider a major paradox contemporary architectural practices are facing. On the one hand, discourses in architectural discipline are pushing for more and more dedicated interventions, carefully crafted to respond local challenges, singular contexts and unique social configurations. On the other hand, tensions in the discipline involve growing unpredictability and uncertainty in the conduction of the architectural design process and its possible outcomes.

In a way, these forces induce a distance between the architects and the human beings that will experience the buildings. Architects and inhabitants are so close from each other, but far away.

To address this paradoxical situation, the studio considers the conceptual distance between design process and building afterlife as an enriching opportunity. Seizing this opportunity implies to answer questions such as ‘How to preserve the essential relation to the user, the preoccupation for a person, a community, a public, when the design process turns into an obstacle course?’ or ‘How can a design be convenient, adequate, for private and collective life when, after all, the designer can be merely considered as a stranger?’

Frameworks of the studio

The studio uses the Brussels region as a pragmatic pretext. As a matter of fact, operating in the capital of Europe can easily unveils the tensions of the discipline. The studio is being held in collaboration with the team of the Brussels Bouwmeester (www.bma.brussels). This collaboration will give insights on the professional reality of the discipline.

Parallelly, the studio refers to a transdisciplinary theoretical framework. In order to conceptualize decisive aspects of the design process, seminal works as the writings of von Clausewitz on military engagement or the theory of configuration as formulated by French philosopher Paul Ricoeur will be considered as conceptual framework. In order to explore conceptualizations of the uncertainty of action in relation with everyday life, the theory of the regimes of engagements as proposed by the school EHESS Paris and, more broadly, the current pragmatic sociology, is considered as a key notion.

The objective of the studio is the enrichment of this pragmatic and theoretical framework through personal fieldwork and conceptual exploration in the fields of arts, writing, design, curation and architecture.

The studio is a collective and prospective journey, exploring the potentialities of the design process itself. It will examine how the fabrication of architectural artefact can have an influence on future afterlife, how the tensions at play in the process can be turned positively.

The process will be a personal design development and conceptual research.

Read the complete studio brief here.

Image: A Landmark Within Urban Rooms, Eva Jorissen, 2020

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Read more on http://www.blog-archkuleuven.be/confidence-studio/ (studio Academic year 2019-20)