Through a reflection on pedagogical projects conducted through the creative practice research community Spacious1, in this paper sited experimentation is explored as a tool for architectural research, design and pedagogy. Architects, both inside and outside academia, are more often than not bound to the design studio which, in a globalized practice, is almost always located miles away from the building site. The goal oriented work ethos that takes place in these sealed-off design offices or faculty buildings distance us from the dark, dirty and wild aspects of everyday life. However, to study the architectural experience shouldn’t imply a withdrawal from society. Instead, it should include the moving body and a direct collaboration with the environment itself. Through a five stage reflection on the workshop “Walking Through Doors”2 sited experimentation is studied as a tool to abandon this de-natured white lab coat approach to spatial design and connect architects to their practice in a different way. Each stage reflects on different aspects of the design process: (I) “Spatial Door” discusses sited experimentation as a way to increase spatial sensitivity and learn how to sense yourself sensing, section (II) “Wicked Door” discusses sited experimentation as a way to study procedural interventions, section (III) “Not Yet Door” discuss the importance of playful experimentation, section (VI) “Concept of a Door” discusses sited experimentation as a tool for high context learning, and section (V) “Forgotten Door” discusses sited experimentation as a tool for establishing a meadow of knowing about/as sited awareness. In a sited experiment one intervenes in the fabric of the real by means of means of 1:1 performances and interventions. This allows one to move beyond stereotypical knowledge and preconceived ideas. In that sense, sited experimentation becomes a tool for discovery and growth, for development and emancipation in the architectural studio.
I am an architect and creative practice researcher whose work exploits tiny perceptions to open up alternative worlds of experience and action. My work draws on my amateur background as theatrical performer, zookeeper, and yogi as much as it does on my professional engagement with architectuurstudio Herman Hertzberger in Amsterdam (NL) and Atelier Li Xiaodong in Bejing (CN), and on my pedagogical involvement at the Royal Academy of Arts/ArtScience Interfaculty in The Hague (NL). Recently, I have finished my practice-based doctoral research “Working With/In the Gap: Japan-ness in Architecture of Experience”, conducted through the Radical Materiality Research Group at KU Leuven, Brussels (BE). I graduated from the architecture faculty of the TU-Delft (2013) with additional studies in the philosophy, sociology and anthropology of cities and in Asian conceptions of space. I have co-founded the pro-active design and discussion platform Vision Included (2009-2011) and the intra-disciplinary laboratory for exploration of progressive heuristics ALEPH (2013-2014). Presently, I am affiliated with SlowLab in Amsterdam (NL), active board member at TAAT (NL/BE) and host the creative practice research community Spacious (NL).