Synthesis - Speculative Making as Architectural Thinking
Synthesis - Making Architecture
Think of making architecture – and you may think of Kykeon - the famous Greek drink, taken at the peak of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The word means to mix, blend, fuse…
The act of transforming water, barley, herbs, honey, wine and ground goats cheese into a drink, required from the beginning probably both speculations, tests, observations and discoveries. The act itself gave name to the drink; it was the blending, the physical experience of fusing the ingredients together by mixing that created the wonder, Kykeon.
Austrian professor of philosophy Allan Janik investigated reflection as a theory of knowledge in his study “The Silence of Cordelia”. A specialist on Wittgenstein, Janik argues from a series of tests that what he calls silent knowledge constitutes a realm of knowledge that can better be accessed through the synthesising complexity of arts than via calculating sciences. Certain complex things and skills simply seem to have to be acquired by physical experience and exchange, rather than only by words.
For an art as physical as Architecture, there would be no surprise if an equivalent of Janik’s silent knowledge would constitute a major element in producing and acquiring new creative knowledge.
Swedish Government initiated some 10 years ago a special funding program for research to be developed in art education, so called art research or Practice Based Research. Along with music, dance and visual arts, architecture was able to benefit from this rather bold initiative.
For Architecture, it seems to me, this was finally an acknowledgment of the fact that teaching architecture and researching architecture has to be approached also through the means of the making of architecture. A chance to directly test and challenge some of the processes involved in this making.
With a few examples from our programs, both in education and research, I would like to propose a discussion around the processes involved in the formation of Architectural Research by Design and how teaching architecture may form the rich foundation of creative research.
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