Moratorium Space

The Architectural solid and the Window.

This lecture on Moratorium Space acts on two intertwining layers.

Layer 1: Moratorium Space

The lecture introduces Moratorium Space as an innovative concept of spatial experience and conception. Moratorium Space is a space of which the access is postponed through temporary prohibition. One might also call it ‘the blind wall experience’. Hence, Moratorium Space rather presents itself as a solid than a void, and is often first perceived as a mass of dark substance generated by its closed appearance and our physical confrontation with the estimated thickness of its substance. This solid may tantalise our imagination of an ‘absent room’ and urge us to go in this secluded space within the solid. It is this mythical place we may all be homesick of, wanting to penetrate into its depth in order to understand its dark mystery and to satisfy the promise of a new and enlightening insight, which paradoxically may be generated by a new outlook into the world through the incorporation of ‘the window’ “… as practical device … and an epistemological metaphor” (Friedberg 2006). This window is only accesssible for those who make the effort to go into the Moratorium Space from one end, to wade through its intensive thickness of its substance, and to keep wading until the outlook through ‘the window’ at its other end occurs and anatomically explains.

Then this lecture discusses the embodied understanding of the spatial, material and tectonic nature of Moratorium Space as it may be imagined or literally secluded within the aforementioned architectural solid and the incorporation of ‘the window’ as enlightening device, and how this understanding occurs to the architect who anatomises ‘the architetural solid’ and ‘the window’ through the application of new types of the vertical section: The Chronological Drawing and The X-Ray-Drawing (Van Den Berghe 2012, 2013, 2015) applied in CSD (Critical Sequential Drawing)(Van Den Berghe 2016).

Layer 2: The Fundamental Moratorium

Doing so, this lecture also aims to discuss drawing as a criticaltool beyond mere representation and as a means to produce new knowledge  and/through the estimated bodily experience of architecture, by transporting this embodiment from the future (where we expect to encouter it in the built result) to the present (in the making of the architectural drawing). For the drawing architect, this embodiment often lies more in the joy of drawing itself than in the postponement of joy until the built result is there. All too automatically the architectural drawing is considered to be the failing representation of the architecture it represents. But through close observation the built result often appears to be the failed representation of the all-encompassing embodiment that is present in the depths of the architectural drawing in the making.

So doing, the architectural drawing-as-presence is capable of lifting the fundamental moratorium, which is the postponement of the joy of the embodied experience of architecture, by bringing the latter from the future (the built result) to the present (the moment and the act of architectural drawing-aspresence). It seems consistent to elaborate on the fundamental moratorium by researching a

Moratorium Space through speculative drawing. In order to both fathom the nature of Moratorium Space as a concept and to investigate the fundamental moratorium through pushing the boundaries of architectural drawing, this lecture in the end describes the process of making an architectural drawing (process still ongoing) of a Moratorium Space (WoSho) and its forthcomings from three references: my grandfather’s Photography Studio (1937), Thomas Edison’s Black Maria (Edison 1893), and Sigurd Lewerentz’s (drawings for the) St.Petri Church (Lewerentz 1965). At this point this lecture becomes a plea in favour of drawing as an act of embodiment the architect desperately needs to perform. Not wanting to underestimate its representational capacities, a more fundamental role of the architectural drawing is at stake here, which is drawing-as-presence, both as noun and as verb, going beyond mere representation.


by Jo Van Den Berghe



− Edison, T. (1893). The Black Maria, West Orange, NJ, US.

− Friedberg, A. (2006). The Virtual Window, The MIT Press. Cambridge, Mass., US, p. 26.

− Lewerentz, S. (1965). S. Petri Chruch, pencil drawings.

− Van Den Berghe, J. (2015). A Window on Drawing, ADAPT-r Conference Making Research, Researching Making, adapt-R publication, Aarhus School of Architecture, Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 402-411.

− Van Den Berghe, J. (2013). Architectural Drawing as Verb, not as Noun: extending the Concept of Chronological Drawing and X-Ray-Drawing, International Conference: Knowing (by) Designing, LUCA School of Arts, Brussel/Gent, pp. 665-673.

− Van Den Berghe, J. (2012). Theatre of Operations, or: Construction Site as Architectural Design. Ph.D Thesis. RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


08.01.18The Architectural solid and the Window