As the educational counterpart of my research and design practice, I run the pedagogical research platform Spacious. In my atelier, practice-based research coincides with the careful construction of architectural life. Over the past years, these research and design activities have inspired the development of educational programs for architects and artists at the intersection between architecture and life. To bridge the gap between artistic and academic research in the Dutch architectural community, I have initiated Spacious. Our new website is now online!
During my second year, as architecture student at the Technical University in Delft the faculty building burned down. In the months after the massive fire, I noticed a change in the architectural studios and the way we approached our projects. Without a faculty building, we were forced to work ‘on the grounds’, and directly engage with social and ecological city life. I clearly remember the pain coming with the loss of this iconic building—as site for study and exchange it had a special place in the Dutch architectural community. Nevertheless, in retrospect I argue that the fire, and with that a plunging into life, marked a crucial point in my architectural education. It opened-up my practice to alternative worlds of experience and action. To study architecture—and to produce knowledge—shouldn’t imply a withdrawal from society. Instead, in my opinion, it should include a full body immersion in, and experimentation with, the world.
What distinguishes our approach to pedagogy is an emphasis on sited experimentation. We find that the goal oriented work ethos that takes place inside the design office or faculty building, distances us from the dark, dirty and wild aspects of architectural life. The near obsession with the creation of design concepts and experiential futures, undermines the real work as it happens in the immediacy—and uncertainty—of the lived experience. Following the implications of the embodied-enactive approach to cognition, to further study the spatiotemporal experience what is required is a pedagogy that offers the opportunity to examine and experiment upon organism-environment reciprocity within an embodied, cultural context. Instead of approaching architecture at a distance, we favour a hands-on immersion in and experimentation with the world. To experiment is not to know in advance and –more often than not–to forget after the event. Therefore, we start without a predefined plan to let curiosity-driven and proactive experimentation emerge in correspondence with the site. Through sited experimentation, we offer experiential and reflective tools to include the moving body in the design process and invite for a direct collaboration, a life-affirmative and animistic-empathic engagement, with the environment. By combing artistic and design-driven research with a cross-pollinated theoretical framework at the intersection between Asian and Western practices, we move beyond stereotypical knowledge and preconceived ideas.
Our projects are organized as open research-ateliers. Participants are held together by affinity rather than by any structure of membership or institutional hierarchy. We work by the principle of give-and-take; you are asked to contribute what you can and take what you need. Our projects run over multiple years and are presented across diverse media, methods and milieus. In the past years we have worked on the projects Tiny Perceptions (2019-2021), Architectural Body, (2018-2020) Movement Matters (2016-2018), and Sensing Shipyard (2017-2018). Currently, we work on the project Hugging Architecture.
Host a workshop or participate
Don't hesitate to contact us, if you want to host a workshop or are interested to collaborate. You can also follow Spacious on Instagram.