Masters in Art & Architecture Elective Studio — TUNING

In this elective, we will focus on the world of car tuning and relate its languages, media, artefacts and masterminds to those of architecture. How does the wide spectrum of tuning culture relate to the built environment, its fashions and aesthetics? Tuning is understood as a modifying culture in which both performance and looks are altered. We believe that architecture derives its meaning from a similar and complex dance between performance and aesthetics, program and tectonics.

By diving deep into the subcultural field of automotive extravaganza, we will discover strategies, slang, tricks and metaphors that exist in our domains also, but only reveal themselves by means of our extraterritorial detour. The finale—finish?—of our seminar will see both worlds converge in the shape of high-level designs that (don’t) feel equally at home at the 24hrs of Le Mans and the Venice Biennale, in Japanese Performance Magazine and in San Rocco.

To become a unique species of petrol-archiheads, TUNING will progress through different stages:


This phase entails old-school desk research, but also IRL trips into your topic. Discover, collect, expand and imitate the LANGUAGES, MEDIA, MASTERMINDS, ARTEFACTS of car tuning.

Structure: each student chooses one constituent of the car tuning culture and goes to work. Four students together form a research team. Each team decides on a basic output format that is easy to share, communicative, real. Organize two team meets: one to kick off, set the tone, agree on an energy. Then, when you’re all knee-deep in your research, share your work and get to a collective format with clear directives for each member. Get back to work. Tools: eyes, brains, feet. Be thorough, be obsessed. Limit the scope to one category only. If you feel you found important information or made great observations that belong to another category, pass it on to your colleagues. Creativity is the enemy.

SPEED TRIP! On 23-25 October we will ‘mine’ 100% Auto Live in Rotterdam, one of the major tuning events in Europe. Teams prepare for a proper field trip, and devise a plan to execute on site. The mining results will spark our PRO STAGE work.

We will draw parallels to our normal stuff—architecture—by designing and executing briefs for new typologies: on one/either side of the divide, hybrid or hardcore.
Structure: a) each STAGE 1 team proposes at least 3 typologies. b) collective selection of best typologies. c) individual or team execution.

Time to tune! The finalised typology designs will be put on the market, and small clubs of tuners will modify a selected work to their spirits.

Show ’n’ shine, 🏁 clubnight.

TUNING coincides with Master studio Paradigm Weekly: Architects Without Qualities (Brussels).Both share strategies and convictions, and combined would supercharge your semester.
Also, your work potentially leads to publication: MISANTHROPOZINE collectively experiments with visual architectural culture, and engages the millennial and superficial sensibilities of the personae that are part of it—artists, architects, thinkers and policy makers. Each issue establishes and dissolves a fresh paradigm, a potential exit route away from disciplinary cults. The first issue Tantric Urbanism launches this Fall, its sequel will be based on the tuning topic, and hinges on the studio and elective as well as a Pieterjan Ginckels arts project in Tokyo, Spring 2021.

TUNING is an elective studio taught by Ginckels and guests at the KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, Sint-Lucas Ghent Campus. The studio is offered in the Fall semester, and starts on 25 September 2020.
Contact us for cross-university enrollment or to enquire about shorter guest programs; or to invite us for archi-tuning expertise at your speed events.

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KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture