©MORPHtopia 2020

research approach

  • Theoretical and material explorations to multiply aesthetic attachments in architecture •

We are interested in other dispositions in the act of designing and experiencing architecture -those ones in which preassumptions are not invited. Realism reminds us the discrepancies between reality and how it is perceived—something that entails a regime of autonomous entities. In our field, that suggests that the architectural project (abbreviated AP) is an object in-itself independent of whoever creates it (architect) or cognised it (observer). Meaning, when any of the two encounters the AP in direct and literal manners (perceptually or conceptually), there is always another something of that AP that is missed: an excess or surplus. If knowledge is understood as the literality in the registration of cognizable phenomena, meaning it is partial in regards to the entirety of something, we can rely on that only up to a certain point. Thus, is there of any interest unfolding the AP’s hidden surplus? This unknown excess contains multiple representations of the same AP. It is a space of abundance. It is a productive material that allows unveiling a priori ungraspable manifestations of the AP’s reality, both in the act of creation and experience. Excess comprises new capacities innate to the AP. Thus, the unknown excess appears as the tension between the architect or observer’s ignorance (lack of knowledge and limited cognitive apparatus) and the withdrawn reality of the AP at issue. With these circumstances, architecture is tackled as a problem of cognition. Designing is then the identification of AP’s unknown representations to be materialised in particular architectural phenomena. But novelty is not enough. In order to keep the cycle rotating, meaning for maintaining a constant curiosity and surprise about the AP, the new unfolds must offer an always-present level of unknowability—something that speaks beyond its sensual manifestation, something that is ineffable, unspeakable. For that, the architect's role consists in transporting the AP’s unknown excess to the architectural audience. In this scheme, at least two significant issues appear to the architect: (1) how to ask the elusive reality and identify the unknown of the project, and (2) how to notate and formalise it in particular ineffable and excessive architecture.

Our investigations raises the question of what are the consequences of placing the architectural specificity in the ontological domain for proposing design strategies and formal languages in which the intrinsic features that we do not know about the architectural object we are designing are, precisely, the primary material for designing it. This should generate a multiplicity of dispositions towards what cannot be exhaustively characterised.

Aesthetics is the field that allows us to explore architecture and design as a problem of cognition. Aesthetics is the very first way in which the world becomes sensitive and sensible. Paradoxically, how can we get rid of the ethical, moral and social impositions that limit our understanding of what architecture is and what we can do with it to establish aesthetic regimes from which to act socially, politically, technologically and environmentally? It is our hypothesis that departing from the formal abstract, meaning from those qualities to which we have no prior relationship, those cultural determinants that historically have constrained our dispositions can be overcome more radically. Once that happens, the multiplicity of the designed object cracks unveiling a spectrum of possibilities that must be accommodated.