Moving Through master course – spring 2020

by Moving Through
Charlotte Erckrath
Sarah Stevens

During Spring 2020 a Master Course at Bergen Architecture School set out to explore experimental methods of engaging uncertainty and ambiguity in design with the focus on the experience of urban environments through movement. With reference to the tradition of landscape gardens, the course returns to the physical, reconnection of the body with its environment, and explores our embodiment as active participants in the generation of lived and experienced space.

The strength of landscape gardens lies in their engagement of ‘the observer’s gaze and their body in motion’. By moving through, individuals become active participants in constructing their own meaning. Spatial ambiguities and uncertainties arise that are related to optical and perspectival methods, which play an important role in enabling meaning, as well as providing openings for multiple readings. In this manner landscape gardens open up a conversation with the environment by offering the opportunity to become implemented in the construction of its narratives.

We study the traditions of European landscape gardens through the lens of the picturesque, and evolve ideas of narrative and sequence, spatial ambiguities, the involvement of the observer through choreographing the visual experience, and the changing weather and season and begin to evolve new strategies and tools to design for embodiment and our active engagement with space.

The city of Bergen forms the background of the student’s individual research territory. During its history, a number of (nearly) forgotten gardens have inhabited the mountainous slopes and planes. Today’s urban structure still holds some remaining qualities of the directions of movement and views within the city, which some were once part of larger landscape gardens¹.

With the focus on expanding the application of conventional and unconventional architectural tools, we aim to strengthen a research approach that is explorative and searching to gain the deeper understanding Tim Ingold refers to as knowing from the inside². By asking how we might understand the experience of space in motion, we begin to discover the importance of involving a broad range of bodily senses into the design exploration. Careful deconstruction of experience reveals the complex constructional geometries that allow specific spatial experiences; ranging from their capacity to play with size and scale, enhancing perspective or surprising with unexpected choreographies of views.

Our engagement with space under these terms led to the development of new methods and tools through which the bodily and time-based spatial notions could be recorded or drawn out. The work spans across digital and analogue drawing methods and recording devices as well as intuitive and artistic strategies.

Link to course website for presentation of projects.


  1. Dagfinn Moe. Byens glemte hager: Bergen – en innfallsport for hagekunst 1276-1900, Fagbokforlaget. (2018)
  2. Tim Ingold, Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art & Architecture, Routledge. (2013).