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Building Knowledge Commons for Commons Architecture

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Hülya Ertas (KU Leuven)

Considering commons thinking as a tool to go beyond the neoliberal state of affairs, architecture has a lot to contribute to the transformation into post-capitalist society. For so long, the relationship between architecture and power structures has been defined as one-directional. This approach has extended to such degree that the professionals practicing within the fields of architecture started to define themselves as merely “service providers”. This not only positions the discipline of architecture as an oppressed and passive one but also makes it part of the TINA (there is no alternative) rhetoric. However if there is a relationship between power and architecture this also signals that this relationship may be subverted as can be done in any relationship. Rather than working on discourses to disempower architecture (through evisceration of leftist/modernist ideals of architectural thinking, through separating the practice from its critical applications, or whether through providing a very narrow definition of the discipline) it is time to rethink how architecture can “serve” commoning practices for transformation into a postcapitalism.

The main aim of this research is to build a knowledge commons platform that makes visible the practices of commons architecture and empowers their position of generating alternatives, while on the other hand that develops a critique of these practices in line with the main understanding of commons, such as impact on daily lives of citizens, inclusion, democracy, etc. In this scope, the main research questions are as follows: What is commons architecture, what are its main characteristics? How can we activate knowledge commons for commons architecture? What are our resources, community and rules of appropriation to generate this commoning process? How can we make this knowledge commons sustainable in terms of governance, finance and innovation?

The research itself is conducted as an open-source process. So here is the link to Hulya’s research. https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/commons-architecture–AKIkxzPk3PYRbr9gIX2AAcUJAg-0JQuUR9MKbEtl4YFaWt4D#:uid=339952564324336046076129&h2=research-proposal

Speaker Bio

Hulya Ertas is currently a PhD candidate at Faculty of Architecture, Campus Sint-Lucas Brussels/Ghent, KU Leuven. She is the editor-in-chief of the monthly published XXI Architecture and Design Magazine. After graduating in 2005 from Istanbul Technical University, Department of Architecture, she completed her MA in architecture at the same school in 2011. Her thesis focused on Situationist International and their role in transformation of architecture and urban planning. Her research focuses on commons architecture, the social reflections of spatial practices and grounded criticism of these. She is a member of Ocean Design Research Association and CivicWise.


10 jan 19


de 12:00 à 13:30



VUB – F 4.66

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