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ADS6 The Deindustrial Revolution: Image of Making

Clara Kraft, Satoshi Isono and Dr Guan Lee

‘The real must be fictionalised in order to be thought.’ [1]

ADS6 is interested in critically examining how we make things and how this affects where and how we live, work and make. Over the last few years we have investigated the shifts in manufacturing, within what we term The Deindustrial Revolution and the effect on architectures and landscapes. If the emergence of digital tools has allowed for the factory to be everywhere, and the design team to be everyone, what effect does this have on how we build? Last year, we took a ‘straightforward turn’ and looked at the potential relationship of craft and material lore with current fabrication technologies. The year prior, we questioned the ethics of making and the implications of the democratisation of production on its associated communities. We travelled and learnt from the factory floors in the UK and abroad. We took note and then tested ideas through hands-on explorations, and all the while we were ‘making things’: craftsmanship became fashionable again. How did this happen? And more importantly why? 

From global campaigns using the imagery of craft in their ‘hand finished’ objects, to Fab Labs opening in deprived neighbourhoods advocating making as a form of social healing, the word craft has recently been much misinterpreted. What does it actually mean? And why is it significant within the architectural discourse? For us, craft is rooted in ideas that are firmly based on cumulative processes and collective know-how. Disregard for materiality in emerging digital technology has opened up significant questions in architecture. For instance why is implementation in digital fabrication so often simply about the technique, devoid of cultural and historical context? How can established modes of craft inform emerging fabrication technologies? Can architectural design adopt local knowledge in making, yet embrace the ubiquity of digital technology? This should not be misunderstood as a romantic or nostalgic return to the crafts, but rather a way to look ahead. ‘Not a return, or even U-turn, but a straightforward turn’. [2] 

Through hands-on investigative work, we want you to consider what craft means and how an emphasis on making and material can serve both as a vehicle for experimentation, as well as a theoretical framework for exploring ideas from place to architecture. We are interested in projects that create links between place, academia and industry, balancing a creative pragmatism between craft, collaboration and community engagement.  We will encourage an engagement with materials and processes of making as means of research. This year, the camera will be introduced as an additional tool to evaluate our findings and to articulate the outcome as architectural proposals. Image in the context of this year’s theme is directed with specific emphasis on those registered with a camera, a photograph or a film.

The Act of Seeing

‘[I]f several people are looking at the table at the same moment, no two of them will see exactly the same distribution of colours, because no two can see it from exactly the same point of view, and any change in the point of view makes some change in the way the light is reflected.’ [3] 

If one were to present a camera to a scene as a tool of enquiry, the question of how we evaluate what we see becomes paramount. But, what is critical to recognise is that the language of photography is as penetrating as lines and planes in drawings and words in writings.  The camera is not only for the purposes of documentation. The making of an image with a camera is not about an ultimate truth but essentially about a point of view. The difference between an individual view point and the photograph is that the image as an object is a shared view point. Photography can be pertinent in understanding change to a place. Transformation in everything is constant and relentlessly persistent, at a pace sometimes imperceptible because it is too fast or too slow.  When a photograph is taken of places and objects, these elements are arrested by the lens of a camera, and subsequently transformed into a singular, new object.  Enquiring into materiality in a state of change and instability is about choosing the moment to act: the conscious decision of when to ‘fix’.  A wooden windowsill, a piece of fabric, a lump of concrete: photographed together, these will not age independently, but fade away simultaneously. 

The theme ‘Image of making’ is set alongside two processes that engage with revelation of space as distinct and yet complimentary practices. Seeing and making are both tools to understand and reason with the environment around us. We have to examine photography as a material process. The maker interacts with the process of transformation using light and various light sensitive chemicals. The resulting photograph can be designed in terms of its spatial quality, atmosphere and material presence. This can be a common goal shared by architectural design. Both architecture and photography involve the fixing of transformative material processes in relation to time. Like built architecture, the photograph is an object: a new object, a timepiece. Engaging photography in the recording of architecture and space is about presenting an alternative reality intrinsically linked to time. This photograph or each frame of a film has to be read and experienced spatially, whether the space captured continues to exist in reality or not.  To film or photograph offers the opportunity to determine a position.  Every time you set up a shot you have to think what you want in, but what you want in is defined by what you keep out. Framing a view, a shot or an argument is as much about what you keep in the frame as what you keep out of it. Then you need consider the scale, to decide how close or how far your lens will be. How intimate or how distant do you want to be? By the time you are ready to shoot, you have taken up position.  

‘Shooting. Put oneself into a state of intense ignorance and curiosity, and yet see things in advance’ [4]

What can the cinematic language unlock, that say a drawing or a model cannot?  Can filmmaking be understood not simply as a mirroring of reality, but rather as one of the key ways in which reality itself is constructed? For instance, how might film be adopted to explore diverse spatial thoughts from large scale urban issues to intimate domestic experiences? How does cinematography create a sense of proximity within a space through the use of a particular frame or camera movement? Or how could a cutting sequence or rhythm expose a relationship to a space only available to the medium of film? Can the camera not only become a tool for investigation but also proposition? Beyond the journalistic, what can the cinematic language offer to the architectural discourse? 

Although it is possible that all of what we perceive through the camera and derived from the process of making may be mistaken, ‘by organising our instinctive beliefs and their consequences, by considering which among them is most possible, if necessary, to modify or abandon, we can arrive, on the basis of accepting as our sole data what we instinctively believe, at an orderly systematic organisation of our knowledge, in which, though the possibility of error remains, its likelihood is diminished by the interrelation of the parts and by the critical scrutiny which has preceded acquiescence.’ [5] 

Hand in hand with material preoccupations, we encourage you to speculate on how ‘visual thinking’ and film can be explored to question the relationship between reality and aesthetic form. Through a series of workshops, you will establish how film and making can engage to create a reciprocal structure which allows for both an alternative line of architectural enquiry and a distinct cinematic language. We encourage a promiscuous mixture of approaches, including the essayistic, biographical, cinematic, dialogic and fictional. 

Photograph of Model
Rupert Crossley ADS6, It was a Favourite Place for Lunchtime Shenanigans, Photograph of 1.10 Model, 2015


In 2017 we will travel to Japan, to visit a variety of emerging, established or declining industries, selected in order to investigate how economic upswings and downturns, technological innovation and shifts have changed our landscape of manufacturing. In particular, we are interested in understanding the decline and re-emergence of urban manufacturing. 

One of our sites will be in Sumida District, a northeastern borough of Tokyo and one of the city’s traditional manufacturing areas.  Much of its success was the integration of large factories that were complemented by a large number of smaller workshops in the direct vicinity. Clusters forming micro-geographies drew on protoindustrial production, embedded in these areas before the onset of rapid industrialisation. Currently, the area is seeing a re-emergence of small scale industry and production. We will be collaborating with both the council and local manufacturers to speculate on the future of the area and its influence on the city’s urbanisation.

As a design proposal, we would like you consider Japan’s distinct cultural and historical perspective on craft. Traditional building technology can be seen as a benchmark for ADS6’s digital and analogue-making experimentations. Digital fabrication technology cannot be considered separately from materials, site and construction technique in multiple scales. Critically, fluency from design to fabrication is contingent on the practical application of geometry, persistent material investigation and the effective implementation of tools to interact with materials. 


Taught by Clara Kraft, Satoshi Isono and Dr Guan Lee

  1. Jacques Rancière, The Emancipated Spectator (2010)
  2. Christopher Frayling, ‘We must all turn to the crafts’, Power of Making, Edited by Daniel Charny (2011)
  3. The Problems of Philosophy,  Bertrand Russell (1912)
  4. The Problems of Philosophy,  Bertrand Russell (1912)
  5. Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer (1975)