Double Operative:–Architecture Writing: Language/Making is a transdisciplinary collaboration of the School of Liberal Arts and Science and School of Architecture which has as its principle goal the emergence of distinctive, individual authorial voice for architecture students: The voice of the student as the author of meaning of their own architecture at a time when students are from increasingly diverse backgrounds and architecture is being asked to respond to rapidly accelerating economies. The practice of writing in the studio is woven through all five years of the undergraduate curriculum, culminating in a written degree project in the fifth year. The innovative pedagogy is the result of intensive research in the vital intersection of language and making, which has resulted in a critical practice that enables students in the design studios to engage in a radical form of knowledge formation. Radical means going down to the roots to locate a form of otherness that is neither wholly verbal or visual but a map of future potentialities. Based on the premise that associations between disciplines can be mapped critically to form new types of knowledge, in this writing practice, students learn how to write into their design projects as if writing were drawing; writing is clearer in crafting experience and engaging and informing the body. Writing is generative; it moves ideas forward and maps future possibilities. Language moves back and forth between writing courses and studios in a synergetic feedback loop, which has enriched instruction in both the liberal arts and architecture because the two methodologies have become doubly operative.
The student who learns to practice the liberal arts and sciences as a written practice and to learn to make architecture in a writing centered curriculum of language/making learns to critically assess and interpret and synthesize knowledge across disciplines and platforms so as to lead to new ways of thinking about the world and themselves. They’ve learned, moreover, to engage in interpretive practices with a variety of texts (including both primary and secondary texts from a number of fields); to synthesize ideas from multiple sources and apply abstract ideas in analysis of a text; synthesize research into their own carefully-considered position and expand on it thoughtfully through the use of primary and secondary sources; map text-to-text, real-to-text and part-to-whole relationships; engage with, contextualize and critically apply differing theoretical understandings of space and its relationship to the body/architecture; develop a clear vocabulary and perspective as a producer and interpreter of texts (both written and architectural); understand the ways in which any work (their own, or another text) engages with the work of others, both contemporaneous and historical. Compile an archive, a genealogy and curate a position.
Finally, they have learned to establish the terms by which they want their architectural work to be assessed and develop a critical faculty and vocabulary through which to evaluate, understand and explain their work. Due to the close integration of the liberal arts and architecture the presence of liberal arts faculty has enriched the culture of the architecture school by offering diverse perspectives, practices and discourses. Architecture writing has introduced a synthetic practice in making new forms of knowledge that is made possible by the syncretic nature of architecture to combine approaches to the experience of the human being from a diverse range of often-contradictory bases of knowledge. (2012: Ockman, 10.)
Ockman, Joan. “The Turn of Education.” Architecture School Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.
|GRANTS & SPONSORS|
The innovative curriculum has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, Pratt Faculty Development Fund and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
For more information on the courses, events and publications, visit the Double Operative website.