Art and Design for Social Justice Symposium location:Tallahassee date:January 2011
Anguish has become an ever expanding part of contemporary life. Research into the architectural 'Un-homely' / Onheimelijk (or ‘Uncanny’) addresses a slightly disquieting and often forgotten force in architecture. The current ‘culture of fear’ calls for a better understanding of and confrontation with imminent threats. The architectural research into ‘Un-homely’ does not intimidate. Rather, it stimulates the growth of human creativity through architecture.
The ‘Un-homely’ serves as a ‘positive’ counterweight to prevailing values and norms in architecture (light, sight, visibility and so on): the research functions as a ‘disruptive’ force to generate meaning in architectural (re)presentation and architectural education. Between the ‘homeliness’ of safe enclosure and ‘Un-homely’ outside world we encounter often unwanted, paradoxical and unexpected ‘Uncanny’ phenomena, balancing between the imagined and the ‘real‘ experience. The research reveals and expands on ‘grotesque’ and affective values in architectural design.
This article in particular elucidates the productive interplay between architectural education and anguish. It first explores the origins and objectives of the architectural ‘un-homely’ in practice and theory. It is argued that through specific -‘un-homely’ design studios organized at the Sint-Lucas school of Architecture in Ghent, we are able to strengthen, extend and build up particular competence and care for architectural design. The ‘Explicit Research Studios’, that were recently organized provide insight in new techniques of edifying knowledge and competence.