From CFY to DFN: Artifact > Category > Building
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The author's move from a 'Firstyear' program (advocating a cross-disciplinary approach) to a 'Foundations of Architecture' program (pedagogically bound by the promise to deliver 'comprehensive' architectural design within a five-year professional degree) forces questions of the disciplinarity of architecture to the foreground. This paper pursues this probe into (inter)disciplinarity by focusing on its outcomes: its design artifacts - rather than on its processes and knowledge-base. The move is conceived as a leap into a framework of design-instruction which appreciates the conceptual coherence of one artifact category. The 'building', as central to mainstream architectural practice, becomes the object of questioning; do buildings "exist"? And if so, should they? Tracking the evolution of design-studio exercises and projects (and others) which migrated with the author between programs, the argument demonstrates attempts to explore and question the singularity of the building category. Moreover, the paper draws on the author's concurrent doctoral-research into the peculiarity of the 'building' in light of early Soviet architecture, and which casts the 'building' as an artifact with exceptional sensitivity towards orchestrating social exchange (co-presence). The outcome of such attempts is a working conception of the 'building' as indeed possessed of singularity but in an open-ended way. It poses 'building' as an unpredictable assemblage of 'events' rather than as an entity bounded by spatial or socio-economic confines. It underlines the 'building's' exclusivity, while not precluding that its components may evolve into dynamic hybrids with other artifacts.