The teaching of knowledge to students is very often done through physical objects. In architectural education, the model (‘maquette’) is a well-tried example of such a method: the scale model as a knowledge object. Students learn by looking at models but also by making models themselves with specific techniques, that architecture is a continuous learning process of incorporating and making and a confrontation with reality. A second important method of knowledge transfer is the reading in a group of inspirational texts. Interpreting literature and translating conceptual ideas into one’s own design is a pillar in the learning process within architectural education. We combined both in a one semester-long seminar (TACTICS): models were used as moulds for ideas that occurred after discussion in group and interpretation of the ‘Six memos for a new millennium’ by Italo Calvino. The technical aspect of pouring, all the students used a pouring technique with different materials to make the models, was the physical retriction of the exercise. A landscape of tables 60X120 cm – Trying out casting systems, combining drawings and presenting them as a coherent story resulted in a final presentation. Each student made a presentation with the physical models, the test results, the drawings and explained to the group his/her thinking process. Hence, Calvino’s thoughts were confronted and presented on a table of 60 by 120 centimeters all next to each other through the lens of the students. After a pandemic period this was one of the first live presentations by the students. The model could be touched and manipulated on the spot. The dialogue with Calvino not only installed a narrative through a piece of literature but also enhanced a profound interaction between the students within the conditions of a magic-realistic possibility . We will elaborate in the paper on the reading process, the materiality and connection with reality and the mechanisms of the transformative process.
Saidja graduated magna cum laude in Interior Architecture and Architecture at the PHL University College in Hasselt (BE). He is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Arts of Hasselt University, where he coordinates the courses with a bound or interaction with the arts and teaches in the designstudio master Interiorarchitecture. His research focuses on the tactical use of the architectural sketch and the use of models in the design process (research seminar TACTICS) as a representation of thoughts. Besides teaching he has an own practice (www.saidjaheynickx.be).