top of page

Territory Research for Creation

“Ma- That which is, can only be included by 

describing that which lies in between.”

Tsujite Joint


Media: Collage as the juxtaposition of geography, crafts and culture; about process.

State: Final Project Design. Toshiko Mori. Materials. Harvard GSD

Colombia, as well as other developing countries are experiencing rapid industrial growth and urban development. Local crafts and vernacular building techniques are becoming less valued in rural areas, and knowledge of building as well as cultural memory is not being passed between generations. This creates powerlessness for older generations, lack of autonomy for smaller traditional communities, and cultural imperialism through the universalisation of a dominant group experience and materials (amongst other reasons). It is in the natural elements that inspiration has been found for architecture as well as the practical use for shelter. Architecture is in dialogue with history and the place, in dialogue between tradition and inovation. We are allways in change, and yet there is something that continues, a threshold between intimacy and the ethereal. Legacy lies between the wisdom of the vernacular, rhythms, change and intuition.

I leap to Japanese woodworking—in particular joint making because it involves a tangible beauty as the quality of the piece is tested through time, use and catastrophes, as well as the intangible wisdom that the process entails. I´m interested in understanding how they have reacted to the tension between the maintenance of ancestral traditions and innovation--One that is not only demanded by the new markets, but also by the creative process of craft production. The buildings constructed by skilled craftsmen have lasted longer than any other, and joints have contributed significantly to this. A thorough knowledge of joints, is often the difference between superior and bad work; a critical factor is the intimacy between the worker and the wood. Enjoyment and pride in working, different of commercialism. It has to do with the challenge in the doing; the appropriation and care from problem solving as well as the uniqueness of the product, makes the final result more than the object. Although production machines have immense benefits, they don’t have talent nor build on knowledge. It is not one or the other, but the benefit of both. The power tool is an extension of the hand. Every material is distinguished by characteristics that are peculiar to itself. The knowledge of these is a prerequisite for processing the material properly, and through working with the hands this knowledge is evident. 


Through the making of this book I want to explore the intimate connection between hand and head. Knowledge gained in the hand through touch and movement. Skills that begin as bodily practices, even the most abstract. “Craftsmanship” as a way of working that can anchor a material reality, a technical understanding that develops through the power of problem solving and a push for imagination. To learn from resistance and ambiguity as constructive experience. The hand construction methods, the memory of the process, and the relation between nature and the object. To understand the value of working with and from nature, and the importance of understanding process a space for imagination. To question the idea of efficiency in construction materials in what innovation means. To explore the importance of the knowledge and skill as part of the innovation, for I believe the permanence as the efficiency of the construction (the engineering method) can be more important than the materials themselves. Although Handwork will never match the precision of the machine, but the interest lies in the work of making, the art that can never be duplicated.

bottom of page