‘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.
‘Texts ≈ Buildings’ intends to investigate how ideas were launched, adapted or contested and how they finally shaped building practices, with a primary focus on enquiring how specific ‘travelling’ or ‘nomadic’ concepts rearranged architectural knowledge. How were ideas, such as for example ‘transparency’ or ‘purity’, deeply linked to both scientific and religious worldviews, translated into architecture? How were concepts that gained currency in the rarefied strata of published architecture culture – e.g. Post-structuralism, Regionalism, Brutalism and Semiotics – integrated and appropriated in down-to-the-ground practice, in the work of ‘minor’ authors and designers, and how were they expressed? How were they turned into materiality and ‘talked about’ – referred to, discussed, evoked – in the process? This research network will concentrate on Europe over a roughly 100-year period and on three specific ‘sites of transposition’ between different fields and between ideas and buildings, all of which have been insufficiently explored as such and constitute particularly fertile grounds for crossing-over developments: 1. Architectural education and training – classrooms, workshops and meetings as essential forums for theory-practice contamination whose mechanisms are often elusive, not necessarily or solely relying on published materials; 2. The bureaucracy enveloping built environment production, where myriad actors and cultures converge, interests and concerns are negotiated and essential debates determine the materialisation of intellectual concepts; and 3. Literary imagination – a powerful generator and disseminator of concepts and images both based on and resulting in built environment artefacts, real and envisioned, from the landscape and the city to the detail of an interior.