Form As Knowledge – What Can a School of Architecture Be?

The studio “Form As Knowledge – What Can Be A School Of Architecture?“ is a follower to last year’s studio, “Places Of Knowledges”, that started to survey the architecture of knowledge. This year, we shall explore the relationship between form and content through the case study of designs of architecture schools. We shall take advantage of the diverse pedagogies to which GSD students have been exposed to during their respective curriculums, thanks to the diversity of their backgrounds before joining the school, to share discussions about architecture pedagogy. Beyond this, we shall study, during the first weeks of the semester, a series of famous schools of architecture buildings to try and understand whether their form is related to the specific pedagogy they are implementing. This initial research will help establish a common culture for the whole studio. Each case study will be described, producing, in the end, an online document combining texts and drawings. Parallel to these buildings studies, we will also investigate some of the most famous architectural pedagogies that have developed throughout history.

In a second stage, each student will have to design a school of architecture. To improve the specificity of those projects and to stress the link between form and content, each of those schools will be related to another academic institution dedicated to research within its own walls. Six different research institutions will be considered, orientating the schools’ pedagogies respectively towards studying the relationship of architecture with agriculture, the city, climate change, construction engineering, representation, and theory. Each of those six specific schools will be studied by two students and will exist through two different projects. At the beginning of the studio, a series of lectures will be given, by instructor and guests, about the relationship of architecture with those different topics. 

By studying relationship between form and content, the studio will explore the assumption of a building’s ability to represent, in a way or another, its content. On a deeper level, we shall try to understand in which way the specific requirements of each school pedagogy can offer design opportunities, i.e. we shall give form to knowledge and try to understand how space and knowledge can be related.

Due to the studio’s position halfway between theory and form, it is required that all participating students have an architecture background to be admitted. Beyond this, it is highly recommended – though not mandatory – that students also attend the seminar "Marvelous Architecture – The Hallucination Of Reason", given by Éric Lapierre during Fall semester.

The final rendering will consist in a full project presented with a quite limited, but very specific, set of documents, ranging from conventional plans/sections, to perspective views and texts, the whole thing thus developing into a narrative suitable for online sharing.

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:

Option Studio Presentations

Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions