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Modified knowledge in the field of architecture

Author(s): Ståhl, Lars-Henrik

Journal: Working papers in Art & Design
ISSN 1466-4917

Volume: 2;
Date: 2002;
Original page

In the field of architecture, the concept "practice based research" means not only an alternative to traditional academic research; it also highlights questions concerning artistic implications in architecture and prepares hereby the ground for new aspects of architectural knowledge. Architecture is by definition the art of designing buildings, and by that also a stable and self-evident discipline. On the other hand, there are also architects, who have been closer to the experimental, who have transgressed boundaries, and sometimes even developed subverted understandings of artistic experiences. In these cases the concepts of art and knowledge achieve an extended meaning in architecture. Parallel to this, it is also interesting to notice the great impact of architectural issues in contemporary works of art. In art academies and exhibitions all over the world, themes now appear that have very much to do with architecture or urban planning. Some works may even be considered as reliable alternatives to proposals from professional architects.My opinion is that these two different types of artistic approach, have the possibility to modify the understanding of architectural knowledge and its stock of conventions, mostly based on intra-professional conceptualisations. What is important here is that both types of artistic approach to architecture might be considered as good examples of practice based research. In my paper I will therefore present some examples of artistic implications in the field of architecture. Further I will examine the ways in which such works may modify architectural and artistic knowledge. My examples come from three different sources; firstly derived from my own experience of working with architects like Daniel Libeskind and Harald Thafvelin. Here I will show how some architects succeed in realizing projects that both give a new meaning to artistic knowledge, but also illustrate research-like processes in the practice of professional architects.The second source is based on some of my writings in exhibition catalogues and art magazines. I will at this juncture select works from three different young artists, who all consider architectural issues in their artistry. In one of the works the artist investigates and portrays different types of buildings, which over the time, have lost their visionary force and been forgotten or remembered only as failures. Another of the selected artists has made research on biases in architectural representations. The result was presented in subversive images and models, which also identifies alternative ways in descriptions of architecture. The third artist executed an annotating restoration project, where he worked in situ with a detail of a building known as one of the icons of Swedish modernism.Finally, as the third source, I will examine some works from the academic world, where PhD candidates have implanted artistic and practice based subdivisions in traditional written dissertations. I will here, above all, choose examples from my practice as academic advisor at Lund University, School of Architecture.
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