Over the last few months, I have been involved, as co-founder, in shaping a collective architecture practice that I am very proud to be presenting today: knitknot architecture.
knitknot architecture is an international collective of Architects, Urban Planners, Artists and Thinkers with the aim of creating a framework to work collectively as a professional studio.
It constitutes in itself an experimental approach to new ways to approach the architectural practice in terms of organizational structures, with the recognition of new communication systems and digital information technologies as powerful means to enable individuals in delocalized territories to share knowledge, mobilize skills, cooperate to each other, take initiatives, etc., in a non-hierarchic, dynamic and flexible form.
Before the era of internet and hyper-connectivity, groups of architects were drawn together under the limitation of a physical space. Most of the times certain experimental practices, conceptual explorations or formal proposals happened related to certain schools, campuses or cities, all depending upon the conditions of a common time, and a common place for its members. Examples as Archigram in London in the sixties, Superstudio in Florence during the same decade, or the Five Architects in New York during the seventies; all of them founded and related to a common physical place. Nowadays, the “place” factor is no longer tied to a physical space, since the raise of internet has made possible connections beyond cities, countries and borders.
In proposing this kind of practice, we ask ourselves: “What are the possibilities of having this potential available?” KnitKnot architecture’s members bring together schools as Columbia GSAPP, The Bartlett UCL, UPM Madrid or UPC Barcelona, and cities as London, New York, Los Angeles or Madrid, in a combination full of potential thanks to available tools for communicating beyond the limitation of sharing a physical space.
We believe in a collaborative way of working that does not neutralize the individual. Instead, each individual work is still clearly legible within the collaborative whole. As a result, the work does not belong to a unitary ideological agenda, neither is linked to a unique place, but is in every case the result of a group discussion that happens through connected tools; embracing diversity over homogeneity, difference over repetition, discussion over consensus. Identity relies in the modus operandi, not in the “products”.
Within the working frame of the practice, projects are managed through organizational apps and meetings held through video-conference. Working files are shared through cloud-based storage systems and projects presented in very different parts of the world. Thanks to the mixture of its members, competitions and design projects at various scales together with research or writing for publications are being developed at the same time, with multiple team configurations and member’s interaction.
We have develop a working methodology that allows us to maintain a horizontal organizational structure, while promoting a way of working in which each member decides its degree of involvement on a specific project according to its personal interests.
According to this, we have defined five roles in the work process, which are discussed, shifted and re-defined at the beginning of each project:
– Weaver: all work in a group needs a person handling the strings. Someone who organizes tasks and paperwork, and that makes decisions in benefit of the project and the group as a whole.
– Knotters: are the ones who design and create the concept of the work in hand. Together with the weaver they stitch the key knots of the project.
– Knitters: good ideas do not stand by themselves. Communication and representation in a project are as important as the concept. This team’s support provide the necessary hands to craft a fabric as good as the ideas behind it.
– Grannies: pin ups and guidance help to improve projects. Extra knowledge and opinions may be as helpful as extra hands.
A very exciting experience that I invite you to follow, through our website: www.knitknotarchitecture.com facebook page: www.facebook.com/knitknotarchitecture twitter feed: www.twitter.com/knitknotarch