Agora II: (Un)common Precedents


Carleton Research Practice of Teaching Collaborative (CR|PT|C) at Carleton University, Canada
22-23 September 2023

In order to design new buildings, one must first understand existing buildings. Often, early design years include pedagogical exercises in building surveys and recording. Yet, design influence for architects can also expand beyond buildings. Precedents can be both common and uncommon. One can seek inspiration in nature, a meal shared with friends, a work of literature, a painting, a musical score, et cetera. What happens when precedents are drawn from outside the discipline and translated into architecture through the design process? How does one translate past experiences into not just spatial form but atmospheres?

The Agora II Symposium tackles these issues by posing the question(s): How do architects build a frame of reference? In architecture, what does the current approach to precedent study leave out? How might methodologies be reimagined to embrace a more holistic understanding of existing buildings? Which are the under acknowledged and (un)common precedents that inspire architectural design in terms of diversity of media, culture and socio-political contexts? Is there potential in seeking architectural precedents in adjacent disciplines such as literature, music, and the culinary, visual, and performing arts? What mediums present underexplored potential in the development of an embodied, multisensory frame of reference? How do emerging factors such as new media, technology, globalization, and social justice initiatives, among others, impact this process?

Deadline for submission of proposals: 22 May 2022. All proposals should be emailed to

More information can be found here.

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