The Drawing and the Space
Master Dissertation studio 2022-23
Supervisors: Jolien Naeyaert and Thierry Lagrange
Max. number of students: 12
This Master Dissertation studio is linked, through its promoter, with the research group The Drawing and the Space (www.thedrawingandthespace.info)
Drawing is one of the most prominent activities of an architect, who draws with different media that range from the pencil to the computer mouse. The act of drawing is a multi-layered, multi-sensorial activity with a significant impact on creativity, creative output, thinking and knowledge production. It is above all an act with a long history related to humanity, hence to many disciplines that adopt the map, the symbol, the sketch, the plan, the section, the detail, …, all related them to their discipline-specific acts of drawing. All this includes direct and vivid connections, back and forth, between the outcome and the first sketch.
What is space today? This question seems to recur time and again asking for a precise and well-focused approach. History proves that we can re-think and re-design space in such a way that it opens new avenues to innovation and reflection. We can see spatiality in such a way that it opens debates on emotional, political, and social topics. There are numerous strategies to be investigated here, ranging from the transformation of immaterial and mental aspects in tangible space (so-called analogous spaces) to looking at old masters who focused on how space is related to mental aspects such as thinking, reflecting, and understanding the world.
Drawing and space share common histories, and all along these historical lines—that reach as far as today—strong dependencies between the drawing and the space exist, which appear to make them inseparable, both in their conception and in the observation and understanding of them. In architecture, looked at from a historical perspective, space is often that which drives architects to drawing, whereas drawing is often that which leads to new spaces. Innovative ways of drawing have led to innovative concepts of space. The urge for the latter has often instigated the quest for the former, and the other way round.
The investigation of the co-existence of both entities—the drawing and the space— benefits from intense collaborations that lead to crosspollinations, and this lays at the base of this research environment and this Master Dissertation studio in particular. We believe that bringing these topics together may deeply change your view on your future practice.
The student takes a clear position in the tension field between the architectural drawing and the analogous space, and with this he/she explores both his/her own critical reflective practice and meaningful undercurrents / countercultures through designing new architecture propositions, by proving the feasibility of these propositions (materialization and anatomizing them in their contexts) and by carefully situating them in the discipline of architecture. This master’s thesis can have a significant impact because it incorporates new practices that gradually will infiltrate into the heart of the discipline.
The architectural whole (including intimate dialogues with the context), the architectural fragment (the strategic intermediate scale) and the architectural detail are the three scales on which the student will operate judiciously in this Design Driven Research. These three scales are investigated in an integrated way throughout the entire process, with alternating accents on one of these scales. The architectural drawing, and certainly the vertical section, will occupy a principal place in the research method as a discipline-specific instrument.
The program and context can be freely determined by the student, but will result from a careful analysis of possibilities, which will be debated in the design studio, based on a high trust collaboration between the student and his/her promoter, embedded in a network with any mentor the student can choose. This network forms an interdisciplinary Community of Practice in which the student can achieve a better rating of his / her research and design actions, and in which the individual processes are more precisely nurtured and calibrated.
The reflection note is one of the workpieces. This is an extensive paper, an in-depth reflection on the theme of the architectural drawing and the analogous space and the positioning of one’s own work as a new critical reflective practice. This paper shows a developed discourse on the meaning of the current architectural acting.
The student consults with the other students to arrive at a balanced exhibition as the setting for the presentation of the master’s thesis project for an international jury of practitioners and scholars.
Review moments will take place in collaboration with Jo Vandenberghe (who is normally the colleague of Thierry Lagrange in this Master Dissertation studio). However, this academic year Jo Vandenberghe is on sabbatical leave. But he will make an exception and take part in the review moments.
The output depends strongly on the path that each student takes. As a result, the output can vary considerably. A look at previous years illustrates this (see https://thedrawingandthespace.info/type/studio-the-drawing-and-the-space/ ).
Central to this Master Dissertation studio is the architectural drawing, the architectural detail, craftsmanship and the search for remarkable spatial meanings. A personal knowledge of a repertoire in architecture, visual arts, film, photography, performance, music, etc. is necessary. The student must be actively involved in this during his/her study programme. This is further enriched and built upon during the studio.
Reference for the image (if necessary):
‘Shutter and vault’, pencil on paper, (fragment of the Master’s thesis) (Marie Porrez , laureate academic year 2020-2021)