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40 645 Radical Architecture II : Works + Words

Full course name in English: 
Radical Architecture II : Works + Words
40 645
Syklus 2
2022 Vår
2022 Vår
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Lisbeth Funck
Matthew Anderson

Admission to AHO and successful completion of three years bachelor level studies (180 ECTS).

Part of course series: Radical Architecture

Om emnet

Studio Positions’ course series Radical Architecture aims towards a radical understanding of architecture through a critical and conceptual approach to the creation of architecture. To be radical requires the critical thinking or rethinking of what something is, what made it what it is, and its potential for development with regards to architecture. With this aim the studio engages with architectural cases and places to build a holistic understanding of architecture’s role in society. Furthermore, the studio engages with language, philosophy, and ethics in order to take care of and renew architecture.

Our times are changing rapidly, as do the contexts in which architects operate. We believe there is a need for a radical or speculative architecture that evolves from the past and the present to give way to new architectural possibilities. 

We are aiming for the edges of what architecture can do and seek to develop our capacity to imagine a future architecture that builds on but nevertheless,and alters established orders – and thus, deconstruct architectural and social norms.

The task: A HOUSE

The spring semester of 2022 will be the second in a series of courses that focus on critically thinking (rethinking) and questioning contemporary architectural practice and the built environment. 
The culture, particularly the architecture, of Japan will be the background for the discussion on the radical in architecture. The building tradition in Japan can be perceived as a process of continuous and unique development, up to and including our time. Why and in what way? 

One reason is that Japan is an island nation, naturally separated from continental influences.  Japan was also politically isolated for several centuries (Sakoku, 1603-1868), a period in which the government imposed severe limitations on relations and trade with other countries. 

Throughout history, the developing culture of Japan has been firmly integrated into its architecture, and thus daily life - and still is. The architectural qualities of the Machiya (townhouse) and Minka/Noka (artisans’ and farmhouses) are a continuous source of inspiration for contemporary architectural practice. The architecture of Kazuo Shinohara (1925-2006), Kazunari Sakamoto (1943-), Toyo Ito (1941-), Kazuyo Sejima (1956-), Ryue Nishizawa (1966-) Momoyo Kaijima (1969-), Junya Ishigami (1974-), and Go Hasegawa (1977-), among others, are considered to be anchored in Japan’s tradition without being considered traditionalist. 
In what way are architectural qualities passed on – both the  measurable qualities and non-measurable qualities belonging to the common architectural heritage, while at the same time challenging and renewing established values? What is recurrent in new architectural interpretations of the tradition, and what is left behind? 
We will, through case studies of selected buildings, question the act of translation and interpretation in architecture. Furthermore, by discussions and practical workshops, we will examine the relationship between works and words, and question what radical architecture is or can be, asking – what does radical architecture mean today and why do we need to discuss it?

The semester task is to reflect on architectural qualities found in a given case study, and to develop and alter these qualities into a new architecture. 

Parallel with the development of a spatial structure, the students are asked to write an ongoing process text taking various positions when describing the work; the Subjective, the Poetic, and the Tactile.
The overall outcome of the studio will be a collection of work-based individual and common architectural reflections towards future architectural projects.



  • practice knowledge through case studies,
  • practice knowledge through architectural design (semester project)
  • material and structural knowledge


  • work based and theoretical research skills,
  • conceptual architectural thinking,

General competence:

  • critical thinking, and
  • ability to develop an argument through an architectural project and written reflection.
Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter


The studio has a research-based teaching, were the student is encouraged to develop an individual formal language, and through different medias investigate architectural issues/questions based on a given topic. With a practice-based research and a sensual approach to technical challenges, we aim at a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of architecture and thus position oneself in the continuous architectural discourse.


The semester is organized and the project (works) are continuously developed through with the following progression:

  • Framing an architectural concept
  • Imagining a life (scale, materiality, activity, accessibility, structure)
  • An architectural project

This work is accompanied by continuous written reflection (words) to be discussed in plenum.

The studio emphasizes and facilitates peer-review of works and words as a vital aspect of the learning environment.

Studytrip: Japan

A study trip to Japan of 8 days is planned at the end of the semester (mid May). This is subject to travel restrictions related to the pandemic.


Recommended readings:

Haruki Murakami, After Dark
Haruki Murakami, First person singular
Banana Yosimoto, Kitchen
Seishonagon, The Pillow book
Laszlo Krashnahorkai, Seiobo There Below
Yoka Tawada, The last children of Tokyo

Kazunari Sakamoto: The world of architect
Kazunari Sakamoto: Lecture
Kenzo Tange, Katsura Imperial House
Atelier BOW-WOW, Graphic Anatomy
Momoyo Kaijima,Junzo Kuroda, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Made in Tokyo
Takaharu+Yui Tezuka, Nostalic Future
Kazuo Shinohara, On the Threshold of Space-making
Kazuo Shinohara, Complete Works, JA (The Japan Architect) nr 93, 2014
Arata Isosaki, Japan-ness in Architecture
Mori Art Museum/ Kenchiku-shir, Japan In Architecture - Genealogies of its Transformation 

ProsjektoppgaveIndividuellBestått / ikke bestått
Karakterskala:Bestått / ikke bestått
OppmøteParticipation and attendance in lectures, supervision at the desks in the studio, seminars and workshops is expected.
EkskursjonExcursion to Japan. Those who do not have the opportunity to participate in excursion will receive a task / a project that replaces this. Those who do not have the opportunity to participate in excursion will receive a task / a project that replaces this.
Forventet arbeidsinnsats:
Kommentar:Participation and attendance in lectures, supervision at the desks in the studio, seminars and workshops is expected.
Kommentar:Excursion to Japan. Those who do not have the opportunity to participate in excursion will receive a task / a project that replaces this. Those who do not have the opportunity to participate in excursion will receive a task / a project that replaces this.