The Chair of A-PB, headed by Prof. Michiel Riedijk since 2010, has offered innovative and rigorous design studios and seminars for MSc. 1, 2 and 3/4 students of architecture. A-PB distinguishes itself with its experimental approach and diverse international members. A-PB brings rich and ambitious propositions of architectural design and theory to the education of future architects.
A-PB’s courses offer engaging design studios augmented by the theory seminars. They are designed to convey both knowledge and skills simultaneously, and to help provide rigorous foundation for a diverse group of students. A-PB’s courses accomplish such aim through systematic thematization of design discourse. We do not try to mimic conventional professional practice or architect-client relationship within design studio. A-PB’s MSc. 1 and 3 studios and seminars provide the environment for students to pursue in-depth architectural investigation. A-PB’s courses encourage critical reflection on the relationship between the specific design project and the discipline’s discourse.
The A-PB studios adopt a broad yet critical view toward the notion of “design” with a strong emphasis on the process (as opposed to the goal) based on the tripartite scheme: Position, Composition, and Actualization. We believe the scheme redefines and resituates the historical modes of architectural composition in plans, sections and elevations.
We stimulate and encourage students to develop their own position with respect to the design assignment. In order to cultivate independent heuristic process, A-PB’s studios explore diverse design methods and the theory seminars contribute not only to the value of intellectual process, but also to the position of an architect as a rigorous thinker. In addition acquisition of tools and technique is critical for constructing a position. We push and challenge students to confront different insights and approaches, and eventually to define their own position vis-à-vis the themes and assignments.
We believe that students acquire knowledge and skills by focusing on tools and techniques that are unique to architecture and its practice as a discipline. First of all the tools and techniques are necessary in order to give shape to the organizing principles of design as tangible architectural or urban form. Secondly the tools and techniques of architecture help facilitate speculation and exploration of positions. While we leave it open for the teacher and student to collaborate in order to develop appropriate tools and techniques, the participants should articulate on the inherent complexity of the relationship among design requirements. We expect and encourage students to develop individual composition and discourse by engaging in the systematic thematization using unique tools and techniques. Thus we believe that the individual position of an architect with sound tools and techniques should lead to solid composition of architectural work.
We aim to project and actualize explicit material intent and potentials of architectural design. The process of actualization includes not only the knowledge and skills of concrete materialization, but also the sense of architect’s integrity expressed in the ensemble of sketches, drawings, models, and other expressive media. We believe that such media motivated by individual position and by the fluent use of the tools and techniques ultimately actualize the potentials of architectural design work. We consider the task of actualization very crucial to being an architect. Unlike many other aesthetic or engineering disciplines, a work of architecture does not simply remain as an object, “a thing,” but touches on and affects everyone’s daily life. We believe that such capacity to help actualize oneself in a constructive environment represents what architectural composition and public building should be about.