T4T LAB 2020.

Gonzalo Vaillo from Morphtopia. Distinguished Invited Professor.

Coordinated locally by Gabriel Esquivel working remotely with feedback from the designers’ technical challenges and intellectual charge.

Teaching Assistant: Will Van Dusen


The Unknown of the Architectural Project


The topic of the Lab was framed within the ongoing architectural discourses influenced by OOO. The studio aligns with some aspects of the current transportations of these theoretical concepts into architecture, but also takes a critical position towards others for proposing another possible interaction between OOO and architecture: addressing not only the experience of architecture but also architectural designing itself as a problem of cognition.

The Lab investigated the unknown known (a.k.a. the space of abundance, a.k.a. the unknown excess) of the architectural project (AP) as the primary source for its manifestation. In short, we will seek for what we don't know about our APs for representing them in a way that is also unknown for its future audience. This is radically different from trying to unfold any kind of essence or transcendental substance of the AP. On the contrary, we simply seek other possible sensual profiles (the hidden phenomena) that are a priori not at hand.

How can a project maintain a constant level of curiosity and unknowability both to its authors and its beholders? So, we will approach the active act of design, and not only the passive consumption of experiences, as a problem of cognition.

Thus, the unknown excess is the tension between the architect’s ignorance (lack of knowledge and limited cognitive apparatus) and the specific and withdrawn reality of the AP at issue. In that sense, designing is here the identification and the unveiling of the AP’s unknown representations that will be materialized in particular architectural phenomena. As already said, these distributed manifestations should keep a level of unknowability about the AP to the observers as well. In short, the architect's role consists of extending the AP’s unknown excess to the architectural audience. What for? For creating a plurality of engagements with the unfolded piece of architecture, meaning any new understanding of a building implies a new way of interacting, experiencing, or using the building. Thus, our buildings, like an artwork, should be like placeholders that foreground its internal but multiple interpretations..