Making as Architectural Thinking and Practice
Book chapter, 2014
The aspect of “making” is central in architecture, both in terms of the actual process of designing and of how knowledge and theories are used and generated. Artefacts play a central role, both as bearers of knowledge and as results of processes of making.
The built environment consists of materialised knowledge of many kinds, which can be found, for instance, in the detailing, structure and assemblage of spaces and materials. It is possible to read these different types of knowledge in a building on various levels: e.g., as patterns of social and cultural processes as well as material and technical patterns and mechanisms. New digital tools have provided more possibilities for visualising and reading these patterns, but also for integrating knowledge in other ways, not least architectural and engineering perspectives on structural technologies with new possibilities for expression and precision. One central concept in architecture related to this is, of course, the concept of tectonics. The elaboration, constant reformulation and articulation of central concepts of architecture, of which the tectonic is one, is also crucial for the development of the discipline, and the specific knowledge of architecture and its practice.
The discipline’s foremost concerns are performances and transformations rather than representations and interpretations of a past. But what are the relations between the notions of making and of practice? How can they be considered in contemporary building production? What kinds of mechanisms and processes are involved when conceiving and producing architecture, and with what frameworks could tectonics be rethought today?
This chapter discusses how these challenges in the contemporary situation call for conceptual rethinking, and how we need to reformulate the ontological and representational aspects of architecture as well as material and expressive relations. Through theories and concepts by e.g. Aristotle, David Leatherbarrow, Manuel DeLanda, David Pye, and Branko Kolarevic, it argues for contemporary articulation and reconnection to the core characteristics of architectural practice and making.