Stefano Mirti, Anne-Sophie Gauvin, and Petronela Nita

Architecture 101 - Part I

  • Early 2015
  • 7 weeks
  • 3-7 hours/week
  • English
  • Architecture

About this course

Architecture 101:

Architecture to convert a place into a state of mind. Apparently a simple task, actually a fairly tricky operation. To (try to) understand, we split our journey into three parts. This course is about part 1: from nothingness to place (part 2 is from place to space, part 3 is from space to architecture).

What is a place? What is space? How do we make space? How do we prepare our mind to make space?

Without a concept, we can’t have a place. Without a place, we can’t have space. Without a space, we can’t have architecture...

If we want to create space, in the first instance, it has to happen in our mind. When a conceptual vision takes form in our minds, a place (with its own spatial features) is born.

Architecture 101 is an introduction to space and architecture through 101 exercises. A six-month journey divided into 3 courses “online” on iversity (part 1, part 2 and part 3), one final exhibition / graduation party. If you are still alive after all of this daunting process, there will be a one-week workshop “offline”, where we will go one step beyond.

In short:

Part 1: From Nothingness to Place (Jan 5 to Feb 28, we will work in 2d) Part 2: From Place to Space (Mar 2 to Apr 25, we will work in 3d) Part 3: From Space to Architecture (Apr 27 to Jun 20, we will work in scale 1 to 1)

Exhibition / Graduation at Abadir, in Sicily (Jun 19 to Jun 21, we set up our fancy exhibition) Workshop: Architecture 101 Summer Camp at Abadir, in Sicily (Jun 22 to Jun 26, we build for real).

Architecture 101 (part 1: from nothingness to place)

To start our journey, we will deal with the absence of space and place. Something that could be defined as “nothingness”.

As Ang Lee or Paul Valery would respectively say : “The source of all the material comes from nothingness.” “God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.”

In a different way, Ludwig Wittgenstein taught us that when things have no name, they don’t exist. Hence in order to understand things, we have to start with worlds in which things have no name. Pieces of music without sound. Televisions without signal.

We will go through the process of shaping meaning. Articulate and complex meanings, defining relationships between mind and bodies, bodies and places. Little by little, we will encounter places and see the world taking shape.

All of this, using a “hands-on” system (you will by doing).

Course Structure

Week 1: taking pictures Week 2: learning to sketch Week 3: making collages Week 4: observing the weather Week 5: shaping diagrams Week 6: drawing maps Week 7: passing an exam Week 8: taking a break

Learning Objectives

To see places like architects do. To understand the principles upon which we convert a place into a state of mind. We will explore nothingness, void and negative space. We will learn to name things, we will learn how to invent place (as we wrote before, when things have no name, they cannot exist).

We will learn to stare, observe and see. We will learn a significative amount of extremely interesting (and totally useless) things.

All of the above refers to the conceptual part of our course. Then, since we love having our students making practical things, you will also learn lots of technical things using a number of interesting applications.

At the end, what do I make?

A booklet (with a given proportion, size, appearance) where you will collect all of your visual experiments. Each booklet devoted to a specific “place”. If one thousand people finish this part 1, we will have a fabulous collection of 1000 booklets.

Prior Knowledge

Important thing!

In terms of prior knowledge, nothing in particular is required. However, in terms of technical equipment, this course will be easier to follow for those with access to a smartphone or tablet. We shaped this course for a very specific kind of student. Our imaginary student is a gent (or gentle lady) who accesses our content via his/her smartphone. Of course you can follow us via a desktop, make homework at home on your table. Yet, the way we intended the whole thing is for someone who takes the whole course (including doing homework) via a smartphone (or tablet).


Between 3 and 7 hours a week. From Monday to Friday, for a total of 6 weeks, you will receive an email with a 15 second-video to watch (to get you in the mood), and a pdf with some instructions for completing an assignment and a series of references (to go deeper in the subject at hand).

Then, you will get to work on your assignment. Once you complete your assignment, you will upload it to the iversity platform and share it on your preferred social media account(s). Ideally Instagram.

Then, during the weekend, we will give you some time to catch up.

Are you ready?