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Tutor Mechthild Stuhlmacher 
Engagement   Craftsmanship 


Description of the studio: 

In the fall semester in Ghent, we are looking at the multi-layered relationships of existing buildings and new interventions and discuss the architect’s position. How to build on? How to intervene? How to deal with ‚design rules‘ such as the Charter of Venice and other conventions? How to define one’s own position?  

The studio focusses on a realistic design assignment that must be developed from a programmatic study up to detailed physical and digital models, plans and sections. We choose a spacious site in Belgium with various existing, partly monumental buildings of different quality, significance, and function. The necessary programmatic interventions, such as the design of workshops and a reception building with café, require artistic flair and conceptual intelligence. Structural interventions include the design of timber structures (newly built and designed, repaired and/or reconstructed) and other interventions in and next to the existing buildings. The design work requires care, intelligence and a specific interest in sustainable building methods, materials, and systems. Enthusiasm for craftsmanship, tectonic aspects, materiality, model making, and the spatial quality of interiors are prerequisites. 

As a theoretical background for the design work, we choose the term ‚Weiterbauen/ Building on ‘. It refers to an architectural attitude that avoids harsh contrasts with existing buildings and seeks its own voice and the expression of our time with subtle, natural, and sustainable interventions. One of the most important protagonists is Hans Döllgast (1891- 1974), who spoke of ‘creative conservation’ as early as 1946. With his reconstruction of the Neue Pinakothek Munich and other restoration and conservation projects in the early post- war period he made an architecture that is still forward-looking and surprisingly young and sustainable. During the semester we get to know the influential work by Döllgast and many others, study references and embark on an intuitive yet critical trajectory to define one’s own attitude towards a specific building and design task.  

The theme of the studio is closely related to the current exhibition in the Singel in Antwerp ‚As Found‘. The work in the studio starts with a visit to the exhibition, combined with an excursion to one or more exhibited projects.  


Expected output: 

Analysis and presentation of reference projects 

Analysis of the given site, with its spatial, cultural context 

Design of a programmatic and architectural masterplan of the entire site (in groups) 

Architectural design of a fragment in detail, image research, structural research, model making 


Reflective, illustrated essay or ‘project journal’ 


Excursion/study trip/… (+ timing): 

Several spontaneous study trips and site visits within Belgium 

Optional: excursion to Munich (3 days in October) and/or The Netherlands 


References/Further reading:  

Umbaukultur, The Architecture of Altering, Grafe, Rieniets 


Image: Hans Döllgast, Alte Pinakothek Munich  (Photography © Maurice Tjon 2021)