Call for abstracts: Architectural methods, from objective quantification to material speculation

2022-03-17

SPOOL starts a new thread: Evidence and method. As this first issue is directed at expanding the conventional understanding of method, we welcome both theoretical contributions and visual essays. Theoretical contributions may discuss methodology, material practice, studio approaches or design principles. Visual essays may be experimental design proposals or artistic expressions that explore particular methods, show scenarios, or articulate a material logic.

Architectural methods, from objective quantification to material speculation

The history of forming reliable research methods in architecture is fraught with uncertainty, informed by cultural habits, individual opinions, subjective positions, and institutional incentives. It is the story of a field that has aimed to establish its objectivity while still maintaining the individual horizon of creative solutions.

A modern, positivist approach to theory and science might argue that this complicated history is little more than an indication of the unreliability of research approaches in architecture. This issue instead argues that approaches founded in perception and material reality provide a situated understanding that has its own merits. What if the idiosyncratic habits of drawing and design are considered an index of collective values and intentions? What if scientific relevance is measured in a variety of specific observations rather than in quantifiable or reproducible results? What if drawings can provide an approach not unlike laboratory experiments, with a hypothesis that is iterated in multiple possible outcomes?

The platypus – an animal that defies biological classification yet exists in reality.

The possibility that the materials of architectural design themselves may provide a foundation for methodological innovations seems intuitive from within the discipline of architecture, where drawings and diagrams are a self-evident mode of inquiry. At the same time, current habits of scientific research leave only a limited space for this explorative approach. Architecture is particularly suited to provide new modes of academic inquiry. Studio training develops skills such as spatial projection and scenario thinking, as well as requiring visual and diagrammatic renditions of spatial intentions. Moreover, the design process explores series of possible solutions, and these narratives of possible futures explore the values they wish to encourage or constrain. It is this blended condition, materialized in drawings and models, that this issue focuses on as a valuable trajectory for architectural research.

As this issue is directed at expanding the conventional understanding of method, we welcome both theoretical contributions and visual essays. Theoretical contributions may discuss methodology, material practice, studio approaches or design principles. Visual essays may be experimental design proposals or artistic expressions that explore particular methods, show scenarios, or articulate a material logic.

Procedure

Authors can submit the abstract/draft/visual essay at https://spool.ac/index.php/spool/about/submissions

Under ‘Comments for the Editor’, provide the name of the issue (Evidence and method #1) and whether you are submitting a paper abstract or a visual essay.

Paper submissions will be subject to a double-blind peer review process. Visual essay submissions will be subject to a single-blind peer review process. After the selection procedure, the authors will be advised on how to improve their submission.

In order to make the reviewing process run smoothly for both authors and reviewers, reviewing will take place in two stages. First an extended abstract of the planned paper/draft for the visual essay will be reviewed. Any profound disagreements on the content can thus be tackled in an early stage, and the author will not need to rewrite a completely finished paper/essay. The preliminary review will result in advice on how to proceed. The same reviewers will review the subsequently submitted paper/essay.

For further information refer to https://spool.ac

Timeline

Abstract paper/visual essay submissions: 29 April 2022
Editors' selection: 20 May 2022
Reviewing: 20 June 2022

Full paper/revised visual essay submissions: 19 August 2022
Reviewing papers/visual essays: 16 September 2022

Revised paper/visual essay submissions: 28 October 2022
Publication date: January 2023

Abstract requirements

Papers

The extended abstracts, with a maximum of 1200 words, should be in English and should include the following information:

  • background (research question, relevance)
  • research method
  • argumentation
  • conclusion

Provide at least 5 keywords. Abstracts should not include any references to the authors. Please add a separate file with the title of the work, name of the author or authors, qualification, affiliation or institution they represent (if applicable), address and e-mail address.

Visual essays

Visual material can be accompanied by a concise text in English (500/1000 words) to provide an introduction and a substantive context for and guide to the visual essay. Each figure, image or other visual component may in addition have a title and/or caption of up to 100 words. Existing and archival images may be used, although authors must submit evidence of appropriate permissions with their essays.

The heading must include the title of the work, name of the author or authors, qualification, affiliation or institution they represent (if applicable), address and e-mail address. Provide at least 5 key words.

If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact the issue editors:

Lara Schrijver
Laura Meulemans
Frank van der Hoeven