This paper presents a work performed in the last years on a Textile Reinforced Concrete (TRC) Prototype Pavilion, raising questions about research on architecture and engineering within a pedagogical context. The construction of the pavilion explores how a hands-on approach builds up multi-layered knowledge and constitutes a common ground of communication on which architects and engineers meet. Through the act of construction, architects and engineers work together, generating new knowledge and experiencing how tacit knowledge is built-up and transmitted. It also allows for the processes of conception and manufacture to feed and to enrichen each other. This action of making knowledge (τέχνη, techne) constructs a thought or a concept as a tangible physical entity, acting as a communication interface between the work and the mind, spanning over different disciplines.
The paper highlights the fact that the act of building is not only an intellectual and technical task. Within an education context, students experience the complete process of observation, analysis, conception, execution and testing. The direct investigation of materiality is thus essentially an invention and innovation process: an iterative cycle building up knowledge trough observation on the making. Through their corporal experience, students identify and engage with the research work, leading to collective action and to individual responsibility. Such engagement opens up perspectives on architectural, engineering as well as social, economic and environmental questions for the 21st century: sustainable and resilient construction, economy of means, adequacy of expression.