Werkstücke – Making Objects into Houses: Understanding by the Way of the Hands in Design Teaching

in Research Culture in Architecture


- Presented in this publication are the results and the process of a two-year studio course between 2014 to 2016 with architecture debutantes at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany, whose lack of specialist knowledge and vibrant naïveté were channeled to form the basis for a reflective design process. The aim was to encourage the participants to discover their personal fetishes and develop a distinguishable signature while searching for a method where not only does one’s head not impede the hand, but also where ideas are not simply blindly followed and materialized. Our reflections on teaching design reveal something about the nature of architecture. For an experienced architect, an empty sheet of paper presents an exciting moment full of prospects. For an inexperienced architect, it often provides too many possible outcomes and a sense of paralysis. The gap between the suggestive sketch and the material model is a vast one. In order to narrow the transition between the second and third dimensions, our teaching begins with the production of an individual, handmade Werkstück (workpiece) intended to record each personal signature (fig. 1).

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