Photo by Kaspars Kursišs

The Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2022 Architecture Schools exhibition Handful takes a look at manual skills and material knowledge as important tools in the arsenal of today’s architect. Students, practicing architects and craftsmen, as well as anyone who has ever studied architecture, are invited to submit their work and techniques to the competition by 31 March.

Stories Editorial February 2, 2022

The description of the TAB 2022 International Architecture Schools Exhibition competition states: «Is manual dexterity a mere remnant of a romanticised past, or could manual work be part of the future that leads us to slow architecture and post–growth economy? We may not be naive enough to believe that working with our hands will save us but it may help us expand our imagination. The exhibition investigates how handy wisdom affects spatial practice.» The exhibition is part of the TAB 2022 main programme and it is curated by architects and spatial artists Merilin Kaup, Margus Tammik and Ulla Alla.


The organisers of the competition point out that one can be born with kinesthetic talent, but it is necessary to learn, practice and experiment in order to acquire good skills. The fluency of learning new skills depends on the skills already acquired — the more techniques and material properties we physically experience, the more fluid our hands become, allowing us to combine existing techniques and invent new ones. In a world dominated by the circular economy and recycling, an architect is first and foremost a bricoleur — a skilled artisan and inventor who works with existing tools and materials and ingeniously combines them into a new world. It is a way of working that values the peculiarities of the situation and a personal approach to materials rather than universality and standard solutions.

The TAB 2022 Architecture Schools Exhibition Handful is divided into two parts — exhibition and workshops — both of which focus on manual skills in spatial practice and the transfer of knowledge and know–how. In cooperation with architects, spatial artists and craftsmen participating in the exhibition, TAB organises one–day workshops, where skills and knowledge are passed on to architecture and crafts enthusiasts. The gallery will become a dynamic classroom and studio.


Handful invites people who are learning and want to share manual techniques — proven and experimental, international and vernacular, hybrids of the hand and digital, cunning use of new machines, misuse of old tools etc.


The competition consists of three stages. In the first one, potential exhibitors are invited to submit their work — a description of the technique and visual materials — by March 31. The curators will then work individually with the selected participants to prepare for the exhibition and workshops. The selected works and techniques will be on display at the exhibition from September 7, and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in the workshops.


More information about the competition — on the TAB website.