TACK / Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing’ is a newly funded Innovative Training Network, as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions within the European Framework Program Horizon 2020. It trains young researchers in understanding the specific knowledge that architects use when designing buildings and cities. TACK gathers ten major academic institutions, three leading cultural architectural institutions as well as nine distinguished architecture design offices. Collaboratively these partners offer an innovative PhD training program on the nature of tacit knowledge in architecture, resulting in ten parallel PhD projects.
Doctoral student KTH: Anna Livia Vørsel.
Project: Becoming evident: material knowledge in Swedish post-war housing
Academic partners at KTH : Prof. Helena Mattsson and Associated Professor Jennifer Mack
In the 1990s Sweden’s overheated property market imploded, resulting in a slew of bankruptcies and shutdowns. Architecture and building realpolitik ushered in a deep economic crisis that left Swedish society and welfare in ﬂux. Once the cornerstone of the welfare state, architecture now played a decisive part in its demolition. How could architecture’s role have changed so dramatically? Architecture’s Turnover is a contemporary architectural history that investigates the relationship between architecture, aesthetics and the restructuring of the Swedish Model of welfare at the end of the twentieth century. In the book, architecture is not understood as limited to objects or work made by architects, but rather as assemblages of discourses including aesthetic practices, material objects, decision-making processes, design, protocols, and so forth. Architecture’s Turnover investigates the long 1980s and demonstrates that architecture and aesthetics both contributed to and was affected by neoliberalisations of the welfare state; from its beginnings in the 1968 political critique to the dismantling of the Swedish welfare state in the early 1990s. The book provides an original interpretation of how space, aesthetics, and politics converged at the end of the century. This is explored through a number of ‘sites of tensions and restructuring,’ where politics, economics, space, and aesthetics came together in the form of architecture projects and discursive ﬁgurations.
Reversing a famous functionalist formulation – from “towers in the park” to “parks around the towers” – this project studies the construction, use, and transformation of outdoor spaces created near multifamily housing during the Swedish Record Years (1961-1975), when 1.4 million dwelling units were built and discourses of nature emphasized the “rational.” Negative media attention has cast a long shadow. Architects and planners involved are often asked to develop environmentally and socially sustainable solutions, but the green, open, and public spaces around the housing have typically not been the focus of these efforts.
The project has two main aims: 1. To uncover how local residents have transformed landscapes since their construction, such as new ecosystems and unplanned spatial practices, and the role that social change has played. 2. To probe the shaping and reshaping of Record Year outdoor areas in original plans and in official renovations by architects and planners, and whose spatial interests are prioritized in the context of increased urbanization across intersectional questions of ethnic, national, and gender identity.
By redefining late modernist landscapes – from background to foreground – this project creates a fertile ground to view the outdoor spaces of the Record Years as resources to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. If centers and suburbs may be increasingly considered in ecological and social symbiosis, this interdisciplinary study investigates open, green, and public spaces as critical components of urbanization: the spaces where public life and new social and environmental demands intersect.
This project aimed towards detailed knowledgeon the completion of theStockholm Public Library and its mainbuilding,managed by Associate Professor Anders Bergström,Department ofArchitecture, KTH,andfundedby Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ). The project hasdeveloped into a collaboration with Dr. Patrick H. Fleming,ETH Zürich,managing a new project on the construction of the library,funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), 2020–2023.
New Towns have always been places characterized by migration: by definition, they have no ‘original’ inhabitants – every resident is a migrant. As such, New Towns are the prototypical ‘Arrival Cities’ and have in the past been more successful than most towns in integrating migrants or ’newcomers’. However, many of the communities in the older New Towns from the 60s and 70s seem to have stabilized in such a way that as economic and political resources diminish, migrants from outside the country have a hard time being accepted.
In this context, “New Towns, Arrival Cities” will offer a platform for citizens and migrant groups to be protagonists in elaborating innovative models of inclusive practices and policies, and will create an ongoing network of New Towns as a basis for future initiatives. It encompasses five events in five partner countries: the UK, Italy, France, Sweden, and The Netherlands.
‘Texts ≈ Buildings: Dissecting Transpositions in Architectural Knowledge (1880-1980)’is a Scientific Research Network (SRN), launched in 2017 and hosted by the research groups Architectural Cultures of the Recent Past (ARP) and Architecture, Interiority, Inhabitation (A2I) of the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven, acting together as core research unit under the coordination of Rajesh Heynickx (Head), Fredie Floré and Ricardo Agarez.
The core team at the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven develops the SRN together with ten national and international partners: the MDRN group of the Department of Literary Studies, KU Leuven; the ‘Power in History’, Centre for Political History of the University of Antwerp; the Arck group of the Faculty of Architecture and the Arts, Hasselt University; the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, MARC, of the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester; the ‘Building, Architecture & Town Planning – Architecture et Ingénierie Architecturale’, BATir – AIA group of Université Libre de Bruxelles; the Strong Research Environment ‘Architecture in Effect: Rethinking the Social’ of the School of Architecture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm; the ‘Architecture Research Collaborative’ of School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University; the ‘Architectural Temporalities’ group, Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (Center for Literary and Cultural Research), Berlin; the Bilderfahrzeuge International Research Group at The Warburg institute, London; and the Chair of Methods and Analysis of the Department of Architecture, TU Delft.
The strong reserach environment Architecture in Effect developed from 2011-2017 theories and methodologies for critical interpretations and articulations of architecture in its cultural and socio-political context. Its activities were structured in four program areas defined in relation to particular theoretical problems and methodologies within the field of architectural interpretation: Critical Historiography, Material Conditions, Critical Projections, and Architects in Formation. Apart from a wide range of publications by individual participating researchers, as well as conferences and exhibitions, the environment produced a double volume summary anthology at Actar Publishers (publication year 2019).
Partcipants from KTH Architecture: Katja Grillner (project leader, director until 2015), Meike Schalk (director 2015-2017), Anders Bergström, Helena Mattsson, Hélène Frichot, Jennifer Mack, Daniel Koch, Catharina Gabrielsson, Bettina Schwalm, Karin Reisinger.
Particpating PhD-students: Erik Sigge, Sepideh Karami, Maria Ärlemo, Helen Runting, Brady Burroughs.
Projektpartners och huvudansvariga där: Chalmers Arkitektur (Sten Gromark), Umeå Arkitektur (Roemer van Toorn), LTH Arkitektur (Mattias Kärrholm)
How does postmodernism in Swedish architecture relate to the extensive transformations in politics and economics that occur during its time, a period that we tentatively bracket between 1975 to1995? The aim of this project is to analyse the significations of Swedish postmodern architecture in relation to coeval social developments. The so-called postmodern shift that emerges in the 1970's, largely understood as a critique against modernism, is the outset for the project and provides the backdrop for a thorough analysis on what later becomes manifest in concrete building during the 1980's and 90's. Swedish modernism has become synonymous to ‘the architecture of the Welfare state’, shaped by politics in close proximity to architects. Far less is known on the architectural conceptions that come to pass through a critique of this era – nor has the relationship to the concurrent political and economical climate, one characterized by deregulations and market adaptations, been surveyed. Our project differs from previous studies by not primarily looking on the critique against functionalism, instead shifting the focus to what is actually being celebrated and built during this period. Swedish architecture during the latter half of the 20th century has not been fully explored and has not yet been considered in a wider socio-political and economical context, that is, in relation to what has been termed “the end of an epoch” and “the transformation of the Swedish model” (Maktutredningen SOU 1990:44). The working hypothesis to be tried out in this project is that postmodern architecture may not be reduced to a reactive aesthetic style, a reflection of, or a response to changes in society, but that it also – much like a previous functionalism – collaborates in bringing about this shift; is co-acting as an ideologically productive component with processual influence, perhaps foreboding and even producing that sensibility which, colloquially speaking, is known as neo-liberalism. The project will thus conduct a critical investigation of postmodernism – in terms of style, epoch and theory – by analysing the connections between architectural values and their aesthetic manifestation in form in regards to the economical, political and institutional conditions for building and planning. Thus doing, it will also conduct an investigation on the overarching theme of how architecture interacts with extensive transformations of society.
The project is run by Helena Mattsson, Professor KTH, and Catharina Gabrielsson, Associated Professor, KTH, and founded by the Swedish Research Council.