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Title: Constructing Things for Constructing Other Things
Other Titles: Tools, Techniques and Apparatus
Authors: Berlemont, Thierry
Issue Date: 2016
Conference: ICSA2016 International Conference on Structures and Architecture date:27-29 July 2016
Abstract: Most of the tools we need to construct (architecture) are available in abundance and mastery of their use is commonly regarded as a necessary skill to deliver good work. Sometimes however, when the devices we need are not readily available or are simply not existing, we need to create them. Besides mastery of their use we then also need to develop a capacity to master their conception and their manufacturing.
A tool incorporates a process of becoming along with the procedures and operational sequences that compose and define that process. Creating a tool induces a reflection upon this process and the different roles the tool has to play. Tools need to posses a similar intelligence as the artefact that is made with them. Moreover, they can be as fascinating and beautiful because of their inherent capacity to mediate between material and manipulation, between process and result, between movement and statics and between idea and action in making. The tool determines the thing that is made with it, but conversely its character is itself determined by that very thing, at least when it is created from the qualities it anticipates upon.
In the ‘Erasmus Intensive Programs ‘Tectonics/Structures in Building Culture’, in which students engage in design and construction at scale 1:1 and projects are developed from the material itself and from within the physical actions of manipulating and transforming it, tools seem to emerge as instrumental by-products. However, these tools would be unimaginable without being physically engaged in a process of construction with its material constraints and the intricate relations that result from the concomitance of material with making process.
Conceiving and manufacturing tools for the physical making of architecture is not associated with the architect’s tasks, but we argue that it is nonetheless pedagogically relevant and above all intrinsically creative and imaginative. Tool-conception and tool-making can become a means for developing embodied understanding of material and material processes, and within this context the role of tools cannot be reduced to one of implements that are ‘simply’ used to carry out particular functional tasks during a process of constructional operations. Supported by practical examples from the workshops we will reflect on this more comprehensive role of tools and the techniques they induce for making tangible and sensible architectural constructions.
Description: Part of Special Session: Teaching Architecture in full scale - regional materials
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Campuses Sint-Lucas Brussels and Ghent
Department of Architecture - miscellaneous

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