Structure, workshop brief, context, participants, programme, aims, and remarks


Exposition structure

The present exposition is structured according to the curriculum it describes, as it was delivered during the 2018 OSSA Festival. The Main page features its building blocks arranged in a loop. The Prelude page puts the workshop and its circumstances into context. Module pages (1, 2, 3 and 4) elaborate the sequence of building blocks, their exercises, references, and output, which led to the production of the final output. The Interlude page concerns an intermediate presentation, while the Finale and takeaway module page contains the workshop participants' final presentation material and a downloadable version of the collaborative VR experience produced. Lastly, the Encore page presents further resources and an afterword on transdisciplinary modes of knowledge and sensibility fostering.

Original workshop brief

The workshop explores architectural sensibilities beyond the “visual” that the event title suggests. Starting from acoustic field experiments, participants are called on to analyze the built environment's emergent sonic dimension.

In order to develop an awareness of the essential role that sound plays in our perception and cognition of space, we will experiment with an architectural composition that regards sound objects as building material. Contrary to the conceptual sphere of architecture, which excludes such phenomena, we propose an approach that is meant to deepen understanding of the non-visual aesthetics embedded in architecture. Introducing readings from various disciplines, and working with both temporal and spatial digital media, the workshop aims to experiment with the spatiotemporal production of our lived environments, and eventually develop such prototypes in VR.


Documentation materials were collected for publication with consent from the participants. All materials were produced during the workshop, with the exception of the downloadable, non-VR version of the original VR experience (see Finale and takeaway), which the authors later produced as additional documentation that is more accessible than VR.


A workshop upon invitation, held by the student-run OSSA (Polish Association of Architecture Students), which was part of the 2018 annual OSSA architectural festival that took place during October 13–21, 2018, in Łódź, Poland. The theme was 'Vision' and the festival was conducted in English. Overall, the festival hosted 10 workshops, by 20 tutors, involving 70 participants (seven per workshop). Workshop tutors had architectural backgrounds.

Workshop participants

All participants were architecture students whom the organizers selected and assigned to workshops, on the basis of their portfolios, from the festival workshop pool of applicants. The workshop tutors and participants were introduced to each other on the first day of the festival, just before the work sessions started. Thus, tutors had no control over the selection of workshop participants, and participants were not able to choose which workshop to join. Besides the requirement for a laptop and headphones, no other material, skill, or experience was necessary. The festival set a participation fee of about 500 PLN (~109 Euros), which covered meals and accommodation. 

Festival and workshop programme

Timeframe. The festival effectively ran for seven days, from Sunday to Saturday. The first day was dedicated to acquainting participants with the city of Łódź, as well as introducing participants and workshop tutors to each other, and the last day for public presentation and exhibition.

Shared presentations. About halfway through the programme, a presentation was given on Wednesday afternoon, and a final presentation and exhibition on Saturday afternoon (the last day of the festival), which was shared with all other workshop groups. Workshop participants conducted both presentations themselves.

Input lectures. The festival programme featured a plethora of input lectures by invited speakers in the morning and workshop tutors in the evening.* All were open to participants and the public as well; however, these sessions were not documented.

Contact sessions. The effective workshop contact sessions took place in the eight-hour window between morning and evening lectures, from Monday to Friday (five days).


*The authors gave back-to-back talks, titled 'Aesthetics of Presence in Inconstructible Environments I & II', on Monday, October 15, 2018.

Aims and pedagogical remarks

The present curriculum, designed and conducted as part of the authors' wider research interests and overlapping research on spatiotemporal design/composition and its aesthetics, was not part of any formal or funded project but rather a continuation of research practice. Teaching is an important, and often necessary, part of research, both for dissemination and further investigation. The present exposition aims to provide a case study of a research-supported example of transdisciplinary teaching, performed under certain constraints, in parallel with the methodological toolbox used.

The curriculum also aims to utilize the particular conditions of a workshop to experimentally test the possibility of introducing architecture students to the sensibilities, methods, tools, and theories that are rather foreign to the usual architectural curricula. Moreover, the curriculum was devised to encourage creative engagement with this new body of knowledge, both at the individual and group level, as well as to explore the extents of such creative engagement. To facilitate that, the workshop was conducted in a manner of learning together, with the intention of establishing a discursive, collaborative, and playful environment.

The authors have previous experience in developing and teaching experimental curricula in academic courses as well as extra-academic workshops, in architectural and electronic-music contexts, respectively, which informed the current exposition (see Encore). However, for evaluative purposes, it is important to note the particular circumstances under which the workshop was conducted.

Overall, the workshop had an approximately 40-hour schedule over the course of a full work week, with an exhibition of outcomes scheduled for the following day. The festival provided an intensive and creative working environment, with all 10 workshops carried out together in the same venue, and a full programme of shared input lectures outside workshop hours. Organizers selected and assigned the seven workshop participants, all of whom were architecture students. Participants and tutors met only a day prior to the workshop, without any prior contact or pre-assignment having taken place. In addition, it is important to highlight that the overall environment and format of the workshop encouraged free and open experimentation, as well as experimental and transdisciplinary teaching through an intensive albeit brief mode of teaching. While rarely possible in academic environments, these parameters were significant to the curriculum design, and, more importantly, a catalyst to the development and outcomes of the workshop.

As a bundle, the present curriculum and workshop case study, and its outcomes, demonstrate that a short, intensive encounter with new domains of transdisciplinary knowledge, in a practice-based setting, can activate creative potential and yield rich results and findings. Furthermore, the workshop shows that research topics, such as the one presented, which are often seen as specialized, or even technically challenging, can be taught to a small group of participants without any prior knowledge, in a short period of time.

The exposition shares this bundle as a syllabus that can be extended and appropriated for further investigations into transdisciplinary pedagogy, and as an open toolbox for explorations into the spatiotemporal domain.

Photo from the closing event of OSSA, October 20, 2018, Łódź. By Ada Trybuchowicz.

Poster, OSSA 2018, Łódź