Studio 2D: Art of building
A part of Teaching Programme 2
In his 1st century BC treatise, De Architectura, the Roman architect Vitruvius asserted that architects must be skilled in both fabrica (art, trade, craft, skillful production) and ratiocinatio (from ratiocinari: to reckon, compute, calculate, reason). In contemporary practice, these two aspects – a practical and an intellectual – are understood as two autonomous professional activities and, counter to Vitruvius, with the creative and artistic solely belonging to the intellectual aspect. This understanding has created unfortunate divisions in our building culture.
Studio 2D believes that design activity and construction process should be closely linked. We do not educate builders, but architects who can think constructionally and work critically, and we believe bodily experience with materials and construction to be important, if architects are to be equipped for tackling the present and future problems in the world. We cultivate the architect’s skills and imagination by placing the act of construction at the center of design education. Just as design leads to construction, so does construction lead to design. The inter-relation between drawing, building, and making is critically employed in the studio, from schematic design to construction details.
Studio 2D foregrounds local and pre-industrial building traditions, looking for new ways to re-invent old crafts and recover obsolete building methods. Rural, vernacular buildings are examples of adapting to, cultivating and technically optimizing conditions of scarcity. A condition where the available building materials were whatever could be harvested locally in older, obsolete buildings and in the landscape. Sustainable building was not motivated by preference, but imposed by necessity. The present imperative for building sustainably might seem very different, however, looking into pre-industrial, scarcity-driven ways of building might be helpful in the so-called green transition, which our building culture and construction practice has to go through.
Historically, community identity was profoundly linked with local building culture. This once vast diversity of material inventions and craft, however, is marginalised by the homogenisation and standardisation modern economy and technocracy. The focus and study of construction history is therefore just as much about overcoming this cultural and aesthetic depletion as it is motivated by the imperative for green transition.
Studio 2D forms a point of resistance against the strict professional categories of current practice. In returning to the idea of architecture as the art of building, the studio encourages entrepreneurship and the invention of new ways of engaging communities and professional practice.
Studio 2D engages in collaborative, full size constructions for the long-term benefit of society. Each member of the studio should be willing to undertake focused, collaborative work and engage with the workshops as a site of creative encounter. Every semester, a number of externally-driven projects will enter the studio, each at various stages of completion.
Students should therefore be prepared for a somewhat different, less individualistic view on creativity and sometimes tedious teamwork; for spending app. 4 weeks off-campus each semester on our construction sites; for periods of physically hard work and for being outside all day in any kind of weather.
Studio 2D is first and foremost project driven. Thematic investigations, technological questions, and historical threads therefore emerge from the projects themselves. Since projects often take place over several semesters, collaboration is understood as working within a group as well as working with groups that come before and after you. Projects are developed through seminar discussions, material experimentation, extensive drawing and re-drawing, and meetings with tutors and clients.
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