Dissertation
Teaching the Tacit: Negotiating between communities of tacit knowledge in recent architectural education

Dissertation
Hamish Lonergan
 




Tacit Knowledge—with its intertwined conception of unconscious embodied and social knowing—has long played an important, if rarely discussed, role in design pedagogy. Architecture schools, and often the individual studios within them, form distinct ‘communities of tacit knowledge’, bound by shared conventions and ‘collective tacit knowledge’ (Collins, 2010). This research explores tacit knowledge in architectural pedagogy through the theories, methods and media used to establish and maintain such communities. To do so, it considers three moments of encounter between ETH Zurich and other ‘communities of tacit knowledge’, from the Twentieth-Century to today: the first-year studio, the international summer school, and the end-of-semester crit. Concurrently, the research draws on a body of feminist and queer theory to develop reflective tools to study the tacit knowledge that remains stubbornly hidden within the explicit documents of the traditional archive. Ultimately, it uses these critical tools to unpack the prejudices and biases of transferring the tacit, while looking to the projective potentials of historical and contemporary cases to improve the way we transfer, negotiate and overcome differences of tacit knowledge in architectural education today.

This research forms part of a larger EU Horizons 2020 project, ‘TACK / Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing’, grant no. 860413.