About the Triplex Confinium Program
Triplex Confinium is an ERASMUS+ strategic partnership between the architecture schools in, and around, the DKMT Euroregion. In all, it encompasses five architecture schools of different sizes, a geography faculty and a sociology department.
From its onset Triplex Confinium’s mission was to tackle the gaps and mismatches between partner countries educational programs within the field of architecture, while, at the same time, looking at the spatial discontinuities along the borders of Hungary, Serbia and Romania. But these discontinuities, gaps and mismatches include not only real observable territorial issues. They can be as easily traced along the lines of national accreditation systems within higher education, teaching methodologies, and thematic interests. Naturally, partners agreed to search for some common ground. This could be mapped physically, in the territory spanning between our schools (our common hinterland), as well as academically, through learning experiences leading towards a new joint curriculum. A hybrid program that mixes different educational modules with a competition, showcasing not only the schools themselves but the many missions future architects will be faced with when dealing with this hinterland.
The program is imagined as a flexible international curriculum with three main components:
- The Open Competition
- The Summer Schools
- The Debates
The Open Competition is an invitation to all students and young professionals in Romania, Hungary and Serbia to engage in a project driven debate about the future of the architecture education and profession in the hinterland.
The Summer Schools (September 2021 and April 2022) will provide students from the Triplex Confinium partner schools competencies related to critical thinking, site exploration and project implementation.
The Debates will bring together stakeholders relevant for both the analysis and improvement of the methods tested within the program, but also for the further dissemination of the project results.
We strongly believe that the competition, the learning modules and on site experiences, as well as the final proposed projects should allow students and tutors with different backgrounds and academic levels from all neighbouring countries to discover each other, as well as their professional condition within these hinterlands.To achieve our mission we have chosen to look at this territory using a conceptual framework that captures the very essence of this region’s material and immaterial culture, its main building block: brick.
This document is focused on the second component of the program, The Summer Schools (1st phase).
One can follow our entire program on the Triplex Confinium website: www.triplex-confinium.eu
About the Summer School
The two summer schools to be held in Jimbolia (September 2021) and in Kikinda (April 2022) are fundamental learning, teaching and training experiences, placed at the very core of our partnership. They will provide tutors and students from partner countries with a first opportunity to work together in a common setting, focusing on a unique and dedicated topic: the research of our common baukultur, and the further development of the Think Brick competition brief.
During two weeks of on site experiences, field trips, and common lecture series, participating students will actively engage with the competition site and its surrounding area, while taking part in specialised research teams, focused on the multidisciplinary topics that will ultimately enhance the competition brief.
The Jimbolia summer school is designed around 2 of the 3 main teaching modules, (Critical Thinking and Exploration) while the second summer school in Kikinda will deal with the third one, focused on Implementation procedures. These three pedagogical modules offer the necessary means to approach the problem statement of the project – the need to understand and redefine a multinational cultural area alongside the borders between RO, HU, RS. as well as the need for learners (future young professionals) to overcome their role of simple service providers for public or private enterprises and more frequently take on the role of active critical thinkers that formulate problems and help initiate projects alongside authorities or private bodies.
The Jimbolia Summer school is designed around a lecture series and several workshops.
The critical and theoretical framework presented in the fisrt week, prepared by tutors and keynote speakers, will set up the basis for the field research module with lectures on the history of the area, urban anthropology, field investigation methods, and digital tools for data collection, but also on links to similar practices that have been identified as possible references. By introducing this module as the base of the learning program, we take a clear stance towards education as a tool for preparing generalist independent thinkers that can more productively and successfully engage the digital information flood and available technical resources, that are more likely to sustain a lifelong preoccupation for learning and constantly assessing their impact as thinkers and professionals and members of society.
The second week will be dedicated to field research workshops that will test and apply the knowledge and methods presented during the first week. This Exploration Module responds to the need for students to understand the research area in-depth before acting upon it and is focused on tools for exploring, understanding and describing conditions in the territory. Partners understand that each profession has areas of interest or, metaphorically speaking, certain visibility filters through which only certain phenomena can be observed. Partners will work together in order to understand the different nature of these filters, specific biases of each field and possible complementary situations. It is expected that architecture will provide tools for understanding the physical structure of a territory, community, settlement; anthropology will provide tools for qualitative understanding and geography tools for quantitative understanding of an area.
The immersive workshops designed for the second week will map the competition site, its place within Jimbolia’s urban and natural geography, its phenomena as well as material manifestations of all scales and sizes. Special emphasis will be placed on collaborating with local actors and communities.
During its final days, dedicated to the production of the Atlas – the document that will be enhancing the competition brief – students will compare, debate and edit collected data using several digital tools.
It is highly recommended that willing contenders and selected students are able to take part in both summer schools, as learning activities will be correlated.
The total duration of the summer-school is 14 days.
Lectures and workshop information
Rudolf Graef (UBB): Why Banat is different.
The lecture provides a brief incursion into the rich and surprising history of the former Banat Region.
Mihai Danciu, Ștefana Bădescu (FAUT): Urban development of Jimbolia.
The lecture introduces a comprehensive understanding of the current status of urban development in Jimbolia, as a result of overlapping historic and contemporary layers. A particular aspect is the presentation of the current investment projects and their impact on spatial coherence.
Norbert Petrovici (UBB): Jimbolia in the regional socio-economic context.
We will follow the population and the economic dynamic to draw the fate of Jimbolia in the context of the Banat region in the last three decades. The aim is an overview of the major sources of data on the locality and region and their interpretation using data visualization techniques.
Irina Băncescu + Alex Belenyi (UAUIM): Formal analysis of the territory: grid and border as instruments of planning and criticism in architecture.
The course aims to build up knowledge and skills for critical thinking through the applied theory of the concepts of grid and border on the research area. Permanently connecting theory & history of the two concepts and the practice on site, grids and borders are to be approached both separately and associated, through comparative research, including a selection of relevant case studies.
Tamas Szentirmai (DEB): Recognition by small scale intervention.
Site-specific interventions as architectural and artistic tools. How can creation contribute to understanding a spatial situation and to emphasize certain attributes? The lecture focuses on the importance of the site, the selection of the specific site for an intervention. The lecture shows case studies from the field of architecture and art as well.
Gergely Sági (BME): History drawn in the landscape – border imprints and how to read them
With the help of the ancient maps and very contemporary tools (like satellite pictures) we could easily find all our history drawn in the structure of our cities and the surrounding landscape. If we know how to read these imprints we could add a very important new tool for our research. People forget – landscape remains.
Irina Tulbure (UAUIM): Industry and Town Development. Changes of Paradigms.
It is well known that Jimbolia’s brick factory represented a trademark of Banat in the 19th century and also a relevant sample of the larger phenomena of private industrialization that lasted until the end of the interwar period. The lecture is mainly focused on the transformations of the industrial areas in relation with the town development due to the new economic strategies that marked post war Romania.
Bojan Tepavcevic (UNS): Digital brick: Contemporary approaches in working with the Brick.
The lecture Digital Brick will give insight into the latest approaches in design and construction of buildings with brick and clay. In this lecture, various examples of innovative design and construction with brick will show how we can re-think brick design in our build environment in a novel way.
Ioan Andreescu (FAUT): Brick – a timeless way of building.
While looking at and considering the many applications of brick as a building block enabling the development of architectural language, during the lecture students will be transported through historical time as well as geographical and cultural space, using critical discourse and hermeneutics. The lecture will shed light not only on the physical but also on the metaphysical qualities of this material and its timeless way of building.
Bogdan Demetrescu (FAUT): Exploring and interpreting heritage in the landscape.
The lecture aims to present the evolution of the territory of the Banat region, seen by the way in which the hydrographic system was the basis for the development of the existing infrastructure and built fund. The built heritage must be understood from the way it adapted to the natural or anthropized landscape and how it used the resources of the place. Jimbolia is a great example to illustrate these relationships and how they can be rediscovered and developed in the future.
Tiberiu Bucșa (FAUT): Green Architect
The lecture tries to look around the often used term “green” in association with architecture practice, decode its common meanings and formulate its possible perspectives.
Cristi Borcan + Ilinca Păun Constantinescu (UAUIM): Process VS. Object. Working with (Post Industrial) communities.
The course will showcase examples of processes developed between architects, urban planners, anthropologists and different communities through collaborative and knowledge exchange actions. Thus, the proposed interdisciplinary approach of the course offers the framework and the tools to understand, engage and work within the conditions of a real community and place. Furthermore, the students will learn to connect major events that affected the urban fabric to the dynamic of the urban life. By discussing how to collectively draft a problem definition, the students will gain an understanding of the design practice as an open-ended and shared process.
Levente Szabó (BME): Recollective architecture. Common tendencies around the wide field of heritage based on the PACE initiative.
PACE (https://paceproject.eu) is a selection of the most outstanding contemporary public buildings and projects from East-Central European countries. The lecture presents the first results of the first category which is about the relationship between memory and architecture. The phenomenon of memory can be a relevant tool for the evaluation of the development of the layers of the past. We can identify the sensible and specific common borders of the current selection, based on the nominations of the first two years by the international jury from the fields of heritage: monuments, reconstruction and memorial places.
Zsolt Vasaros (BME): Working with the cultural landscape.
The lecture presents a selection of realized and planned architectural projects situated mainly in Hungary. The projects are usually dealing with multilayered cultural landscapes. The relation between the architectural concept and its physical and intellectual environment is in the focus of the design. The layers of history, natural values, archaeology and the built environment or its scarcity influence the design process, the selected case studies are reflecting on this approach.
I. Exploration tools :
maximum 15 students/workshop
SUSKO: Kaloian Tsetvkov, Georgi Bardarov, Petar Stoianov (SUSKO) – Exploring with GIS instruments.
Geographic Information System (GIS) allows for any amount or type of information to be linked to a spatial coordinate, on a map opening the way to complex analysis with both quantitative and qualitative data. This workshop will provide the skills and competences required in order to proficiently use the GIS tool for territorial exploration.
UBB: Norbert Petrovici and Cristian Pop (UBB) – Data visualization for architects and urbanists.
The aim of the workshop is to introduce the attendees to tools like Tableau or PowerBI, to generate static (for print) or interactive (online) data driven presentations. Official records are used to make sense of Jimbolia and the region. We address how an architect, or an urbanist can infer information about the inhabitants of a place based on publicly available data. In addition, the instructors will assist the participants in working with their data for the proposal for the contest unfolding during the summer school.
II. Exploration methods:
maximum 6 students/workshop
UAUIM: Irina Tulbure, Irina Băncescu, Cristi Borcan, Cristian Bădescu, Alexandru Belenyi (guest), Ilinca Păun Constantinescu (guest) – Town and industry.
The scope of the exercise is to understand how the brick industry (with its presence and absence) marked the urban evolution and the life of Jimbolia, by using a participative and collaborative research method.
The exercise will combine two different approaches:
– an intuitive approach, based on a personal understanding of the site using subjective, creative, and sensible criteria.
– a scientific approach that will make use of pre-established formal criteria, in order to point out the material and immaterial traces of the brick industry
The data gathered on-site will be displayed on two collaborative maps standing on opposed walls, that will highlight both the duality of the two perspectives, and two different images of a tangible Jimbolia and an intangible, sensible, symbolic one.
The method of confronting the intuitive approach (genuine observation and interpretation) and the scientific approach (guided field research and analysis) aims to put forth the importance of creating a balance between the personal understanding of a site and the objective and universal instruments of the profession. The exercise stresses students to position themselves both as subjective observers and as professionals and learn how to collectively draft a problem definition that could stand as a starting point for future flexible approaches on Jimbolia town.
DEB: Tamás Szentirmai, János Vági, Miklós János Boros – Walking the canal.
We will get to know the city together by walking around the canal surrounding it and carrying out various activities and interventions. This active participation reveals layers of the city that would otherwise not be known, and many new perspectives as well. This kind of personal, intensive site exploration is essential for the success of interventions, whether in architecture or the visual arts.
FAUT: Bogdan Demetrescu, Mihai Danciu – Understanding water as a tool forming the heritage of Jimbolia.
The workshop proposes an objective analysis regarding the evolution of the territory surrounding Jimbolia, as part of a larger landscape of significant relation between water and land. Using QGIS and drone surveys, the participants will understand the evolution of the water streams and lakes, a natural heritage in relation to the built one.
UNS: Marko Jovanić, Marko Vučuć – Digital brick: Contemporary approaches in working with the Brick.
Brick is one of the oldest known building materials. For many centuries, brick was considered a low tech material, commonly used in the vernacular(traditional) architecture. In the past two decades, advancements in digital technologies have changed the way we think and build in architecture, bringing innovations in the way we design and do constructions with brick.
The workshop will provide basic skills for novel design and construction techniques with brick. Students will learn how to parametrically generate brick walls and patterns and how such walls can be fabricated. Students will gain basic skills in parametric design with Rhino/Grasshopper as well as basic understanding of contemporary digital fabrication approaches for brick construction.
BME: Zoltán Major, Gergely Sági, Levente Szabó, Zsolt Vasáros – Working with built heritage.
The history of Jimbolia left us many different layers of built heritage which all are identical – not only as their original structure but also their transformation during the time kept important parts of the history. These layers are sometimes hidden or their story is forgotten, however they are parts of the common heritage of Jimbolia. We invite the students participating in this workshop to re-explore and recollect these lost or hidden stories and with small (or larger – up to one’s personal ambitions) architectural interventions try to continue them. And if with our interventions we make the Jimbolia people more conscious about the values and stories of their built heritage we hope we can give back a part of its history to the local community.
Scholarship and Admission
The summer school is open to any student actively studying in any of the partner Universities and Faculties. Each partner institution will participate with 4 students. It is recommended that the same students participate in both summer schools (Jimbolia and Kikinda).
A scholarship is provided for each of the selected students (maximum 28 in total, 4 from each University). Considering the distance between the schools and Jimbolia, the total amount of the scholarship is the following:
- 832 euro for FAUT and UNS
- 992 euro for BME, DEB, SUSKO, UBB and UAUIM
The same amount will also be provided for the Kikinda summer school, next year.
Summer school admission procedure:
In order to be admitted to the Summer School and receive the scholarship, students have to follow the following steps:
- Make sure they are an active student in one of the partner Universities/Faculties.
- Fill-in THIS FORM until the 1st of September.
In order to select the 4 students that will participate in the summer school, each partner will evaluate its own students and will communicate the selection to all applicant students until the 3rd of September. The final list of participating students will be published on the Triplex Confinium website on the 6th of September.
In the evaluation process, each partner will grade each application with maximum 100 points, considering the following criteria:
- The availability to participate in both summer schools (max 10 points)
- Participation in the Competition (max 10 points)
- Motivation (max 40 points)
- Background (max 40 points)
The evaluation process cannot be contested.
Some practical information:
The language of the Summer School is English. The applicants need to be proficient in English in order to be able to participate. We will not provide translation in native languages.
Applicants will need to bring their own laptops/tablets to the summer school.
The scholarship will be used to cover expenses related to the participation in the summer school: transportation, accomodation, food and beverages, etc. The summer school organisers will take care of:
- transport from Timișoara to Jimbolia (on the 19th of September)
- transport for the field trip to Kikinda and Mako (on the 22nd of September)
Since Jimbolia is a small town, the organisers made a reservation for all participants at this pension: https://maps.app.goo.gl/aAu2rC3CLU5tHHHQ9
The accommodation will be paid by each participant, from the scholarship, at the beginning of the summer school. Participants must find their own accommodation in Timișoara.
Each student is responsible to organise its travel to Timișoara and back to its home, in accordance with the Summer School Schedule. When traveling from another country, please make sure you comply with the current covid regulations: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/map/ROU/7011
Katalin Kitti Kiss
Please find below, a wonderful booklet: the result of our first Learning, Teaching and Training activity which took place in Jimbolia 2021.
The Outcomes of the Summer School (Lectures and Workshops) and an Atlas about Jimbolia.
We highly recommend to all the participants in our Think Brick! Competition, to take a look at this material!