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Supervisor(s) Pieterjan Ginckels
Campus BXL
Language EN
Studio or individual? Individual
Max number of students? 5


STUDIO SNOWFLAKE focuses on the complex impact of contemporary visual cultures on working±being. We connect the so-called thorough practice of incremental conceptual work (‘doing architecture’) with the seemingly ominous but very pervasive culture of the (scroll)surface (‘doing everything but architecture’). To achieve this we will detect, embrace and design post-millennial ways of enquiry and action: how to work? Absorbing and radiating your complexities in becoming architects, drowning in visual cultures. The engagement with these visual cultures, an exploration of their underlying strategies and surfacing tectonics, will nurture your project. This project may question the ecologic, societal, political, technologic and economic agency of architects, beyond a responsibility and relevance to the built environment.


The English dictionary defines “snowflake” as a derogatory term to describe an easily offended person, or someone who believes they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics. Members of the so-called “snowflake generation” are typecast as emotionally weak and lacking resilience.” But, setting aside the negative connotations and stigmatising tactics of generalizing and labeling generations, what is possible if we reclaim exactly those characteristics as the driving qualities for agency? If any, what sort of empowering liberation might emerge from a true implosion of our bodies, minds and media?

Key words: post-millennial, visual culture, provocation, persona, coming of age, learning from.



  • SCAN
    We will start with a SURFACE SCAN – We are trendwatchers, and mine offline and online cultural extremities, shifts and situations. Everyone is invited to suggest personal hypes, obsessions or intolerances, and together we will reconstruct the surfaces that surround us into a situated, incomplete, triggering state of the world. Previous scans uncovered hygge zombies, VR microdosing, brotox parties, cottage core & goblin core, haute couture vs shanzai, or flexdesk work havens.


    Subsequently you design, organize and execute a personal SPEED TRIP – a performative study trip in which you execute a deep dive into the real-world manifestations of our scanned surface (X). Field trip becomes safari becomes rabbit hole. You are expeditioner, gathering evidence, and performer, developing a persona, or an attitude. The trip location and timing will be decided based on the scan Previous Speed Trips were held in a fashion-and-caffeine-filtered Milan, London’s Apple and Aesop stores, Rotterdam’s vape shops, Belgium’s remnants of 90s rave culture, Los Angeles’ urban acceleration snapping points, Frankfurt’s data centers and the Thüringer Forest mineral mines.


    You will channel the backlash or after-shock of your trip into a document that forms the basis of your written output – your personal ‘Learning from X’.
    Learning from X, you will nurture your practice – your persona, your modus operandi – based on the underlying strategies and surfacing aesthetics of the cultures you immersed in. Meanwhile you will define a scenario for the site of your choice, in which you intervene as a Snowflake architect. Your intervention, your project, may question and exploit the ecologic, societal, political, technologic and economic agency of architects, beyond a responsibility and relevance to the built environment.


Expected output:

Your work will be formatted according to its embedded, extra-architectural realities, and from there respond to your ‘discipline’. The outcome might therefore take the shape of a building, a performance, a mixtape, a manifesto, a clothing line, an uncorporate identity, an opera, a feature film, or a combination of these.

+ Reflection note based on ‘Learning from X’, formatted as a small book.

Study trip + timing:

Fall semester: SURFACE SCAN workshop (studio week, location tbd), followed by individual desk research and preparation of the Speed Trip, for which we arrange 2 consultations.

Before first Spring semester session: execution of the self-organized Speed Trip.

Spring semester: weekly meetings with fellow studio participants and guests, following the general master dissertation schedule: Preliminary research presentation, midterm review, final review, external jury + exhibition).

References/Further reading:

Besides films, manifestos, artworks and buildings, we provide an incomplete selection of works discussed in the studio:

  • Ant Farm.
  • Atelier Bow-Wow. Pet Architecture Guide Book Vol 2
  • Basar, S., Coupland, D., & Obrist, H. U. The age of earthquakes : a guide to the extreme present.
  • Davis, M., & Morrow, R.. City of quartz : excavating the future in Los Angeles.
  • Denise Scott Brown.Having words.
  • Hans Hollein. Alles ist Architektur.
  • John Zerzan. Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections.
  • Metahaven. Uncorporate identity.
  • MISANTHROPOZINE: Tantric Urbanism.
  • Olga Ravn. The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century.
  • Pieterjan RADICAL SATURATION – Untitled States of Doom.
  • Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, StevenLearning from Las Vegas.
  • Virgil Abloh. Figures of Speech.

Paradigm Weekly:

STUDIO SNOWFLAKE is part of a larger offering of studios, electives and extracurricular activities such as the Post-Office Book Club and the art & architecture journal MISANTHROPOZINE. Participants may supercharge their semester(s) by combining program offerings.


Talk to me on campus, or send an email to pieterjan.ginckels@kuleuven.be