ABSTRACT

Architecture scholars have often considered images as inadequate and unreliable vehicles to convey three-dimensional spatial experiences. This chapter aims to show that the visual and the spatial are not rigidly separated fields of knowledge, but, as Christy Anderson and Karen Koehler (2002) have shown: ‘interrelated ones, one informing the other, and, establishing patterns of creation and reception’. In order to do so, this chapter looks at an abstract painting series made by the architect-educator Alfons Hoppenbrouwers (1930–2001, BE) at the end of his career in the 1990s. It makes a ‘social biography’ of the paintings by tracing them in two places of production: the studio in a Catholic convent and the theory classroom in the Sint Lucas Institute for Architecture in Brussels. Following this trajectory, a multi-layered educational project unfolds. Hoppenbrouwers’s paintings were pedagogical vehicles by which he taught his students not only how to perceptually understand space but also how to read architectural history. As such, this chapter sheds light on the tactile, yet tacit production of architectural knowledge in the theory classroom and thus locates architectural history at the intersection of architectural, visual and educational cultures.