Being Tectonic


Oslo School of Architecture and Design​

Being Tectonic is a teaching practice that explores alternative interpretations of the notion of tectonic culture that include social proposition and environmental connection as critical aspects of the tectonic composition.

The course has been taught as both an elective seminar and a design studio in the postgraduate school of Architecture in Oslo. Critical to exploring alternative interpretations of tectonic culture is that projects must be considered for what they do, not simply what they are intended to do. Imbalances in the preoccupations of architecture in the 20th century and a failure to reflect and act on outcomes, have been devastating to humans and non-humans alike.

In construction, the suite of nouns we use to describe tectonic relationships (stress, tolerance, tension, connection) share their meanings with the language of human relationships. Humans and objects alike, have tectonic relationships with each other governed by the dynamics between them. Our sense of being and belonging with each other is the companion to material tectonics governed by the ways we share the spaces we inhabit. If we are to find a solution to our environmental and economic crises, the sophistication of our relationships with each other and our ability to coexist with other worldviews, both human and non-human, will be at its heart.

In both the elective and the studio, collective work was produced in parallel with individual research.  The elective course produced a book integrating students’ writing with quotations from key thinkers informing the work. The studio course produced Power Plant, a compost bioreactor and heated public bench, made in collaboration with Public Works.