Biotopological craftsmanship is a design philosophy and research area that explores, informs, and expresses interrelationships between social, cosmological and technological bodies in movement by means of architectural interventions.
Working With/In the Gap
In the past four years, I have conducted creative practice research, a form of academic research primarily driven by creations in the arts and design, through the Radical Materiality Research Group at KU Leuven in Brussels and Ghent (BE). In this doctoral research architectural habit(at)s that approach space in terms of objects are recast through the lens of Japanese architectural practice of 'ma'. The Japanese practice of 'ma', a practice of 'full emptiness', can be understood as a direct engagement with the sensorial charged field that emerges by virtue of bodies movement. In this context, I have reformulated Japanese spatial tactics from the Edo Period, with a background in Shinto Religion and Zen Buddhism, as spatial tactics; to become an attuned architect guided by tiny perceptions; to construct vital architecture motivated by un/balancing procedurals; and to engage in a sited design process informed by (m)aware play. This resulted in the pre-publication Working With/In the Gap: Japan-ness in Architecture of Experience.
In conclusion to this dissertation-as-catalogue, I have introduced biotopological craftsmanship to provide a frame for this spatial habitus that, rather than focusing on the design of the architectural object, emphasizes the centrality of organism-environment reciprocity to the experience of architectural space. The term biotopology is introduced by Japanese-American artist-turned architects Shusaku Arakawa and Madeleine Gins as the ‘science of life’. Where for Arakawa and Gins biotopology is foremost a science, in my appropriation of the concept it can be understood as design philosophy and research area that explores, informs, and expresses interrelationships between social, cosmological and technological bodies in movement by means of architectural interventions. In other words, biotopological craftsmanship is not a craftsmanship of wood but of organism-environment reciprocity, that is of bio-topo-logical entrainment.
Just as the fuzzy boundaries of Japanese space increase the richness of architectural life, the dark, dirty and wild tactics of biotopological craftsmanship have no respect for neat boundaries. At the intersection between West and East, biotopological craftsmanship can function as fertile ground for growing alternative visions and variant rhythms to existing ideologies. In the upcoming years, I will further explore the hypothesis and potentials of biotopological craftsmanship. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or potential collaboration through e-mail, Instagram or LinkedIn.