Exercise The architectonic space is an exercise in architecture. It invites students to follow a particular approach to design that, for pedagogical purposes, limits the number of questions considered, in order to privilege a specific dimension of architecture. Intended for first-year students, this exercise is the first in the studio sequence to address a building as such. It comes after a drawing-oriented studio where architecture is mainly considered as element of an urban complex; and it is in turn followed by a workshop where the question of building materials and their implementation will become central. An immanent dimension The architectonic space aims to introduce students to the internal modalities of architecture. These include: the partitioning of spaces and the study of the qualities, declensions and articulations that are immanent operations within the architectural act, indifferent to any external or empirical influence. A distilled question Intentionally, the exercise suspends the consideration of two parameters that are usually decisive in the design of housing environments : the program and the site. Proposing an abstracted overview, the problem statement disallows any contextual data such as views, neighborhood, topography etc., and defuses any search for satisfaction of a particular program. The problem statement The statement specifies the outside of the building as well as the preferred distribution. The building is placed in a cube of 24 × 24 × 24 meters. The particular function of the building is not given, but the statement requires, in the manner of a public building, rooms of variable size and number. To these minimal requirements, two further constraints are added: the larger the rooms, the less numerous they will be, and vice versa; and the edifice will include at least one outdoor room. The given dimensions are large enough to allow some diversity, and small enough to make it impossible for the rooms to be fully independent of each other. The stakes Deprived of external resources, the project must then draw from the internal resources of architecture. Students are brought to formulate bold, expansive hypotheses, to re-work them and to make composition the main motivating force of their projects. In the end, the quality of the proposed spaces is evaluated according to their internal economy: the simplicity of their dispositions and the spatial richness they offer. The stripped-down conditions of the exercise bring the students to a radical experiment in architectonics, in the hope that it will awaken and stimulate their potential for architecture. The following persons contributed to the design of this exercise: Olivier Bourez, Pierre Cloquette, Jean-Philippe De Visscher, Arnaud Evrard, Corentin Fivet, Gérald Ledent, Olivier Masson, Renaud Pleitinx, Lee Roland, Jean Stillemans and Benoît Vandenbulcke.
Record created on 2016-06-15, modified on 2016-08-09