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Stories, Stages and Journeys:

Narrating Ecologies of Practice in the Plan of Work Report
Paul Gottschling
p. 118-135

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DOI: 10.17454/ARDETH02.08

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This study is based on research conducted under a doctoral studentship at the University of Manchester, School of Environment, Education and Development. I obtained the RIBA stage reports through a Freedom of Information Act request to Manchester City Council. I wish to thank all the architects, students and administrators who participated in my research.


1Recent studies in the social sciences have given us a new understanding of architectural work (see: Cardoso Llach, 2015; Houdart, 2008; Houdart, Minato, 2009; Loukissas, 2012; Rose, Degen, Melhuish, 2014; Yaneva, 2009a, 2009b). Rather than a series of steps from beginning to end, the view from these studies is of something more simultaneous: a set of relations between architects, objects and places, each adapting to the others in a continuous process of emergence. The new attention to practice has given one aspect of architecture an uncertain status: storytelling, particularly stories about the way design unfolds from one moment to the next. Either practice is taken as a counterpoint to representations of work (e.g. Yaneva, 2009b, p. 13), or narrative becomes a window into the interior of the architectural mind (e.g. Loukissas, 2012). What we hear little about is how storytelling and practice engage.

2Since storytelling courses through the daily work of architects, it is reasonable to think that it can engage with the texture of practice, putting step-by-step representations in contact with the movement and transformation of objects. To examine this possibility, I look at one artefact that, at first glance, offers to do just that. This is a report that architectural firms in the UK are often contracted to produce. In the UK, the Plan of Work is a set of categories, each naming a stage in the process of bringing a building into being. The Plan of Work report narrates the relationship between these categories and the status of a project, its objects and transformations.

3This study is based on research among architects in the UK that took place between 2013 and 2014. The study included 34 interviews with architects, architectural instructors and administrators in client teams. I also analysed documents from architectural projects and reports from construction industry actors, and conducted participant observation at an architectural school. Here I focus on the Plan of Work stage reports for the project to renovate Manchester Central Library.

4To make sense of how the stories practitioners tell might move along with the trajectories of practice, I put my observations in the context of Ingold’s (2007) analysis of line, gesture and story. As we will see, the Plan of Work stage report is rather different from Ingold’s storyteller, in a way that reveals both the epistemic qualities of the Plan of Work and the narrative possibilities of architecture. The Plan of Work is a resource for narrating the project as smooth and continuous: a set of stages, yes, but also a journey.

Architecture, step by step

5One theme from the past two decades of ethnography among architects (e.g. Cardoso Llach, 2015; Houdart, 2008; Houdart, Minato, 2009; Loukissas, 2012; Rose, Degen, Melhuish, 2014; Yaneva, 2009a, 2009b) has to do with what the project is like in time and space. The project is not a linear progression from mind to product but a continuously changing distribution of objects and relationships. Part of this shift is a changing stance among social scientists toward narratives about architecture. It is not what architects say about their projects but how architects relate to one another and to their objects that captures a scholar’s attention. Yet if we accept the conclusions of recent ethnographic research, we can also ask how architects themselves, in their narratives, accommodate the ecological character of design. I suggest that it is possible, in the social science of architecture, to position narrative differently.

6In recent social science, the project becomes a matter of relationships developing with, through and across sites (Houdart, 2008; Loukissas, 2012; Luck, 2012; Rose, Degen, Melhuish, 2014; Schmidt, Sage, Eguchi, Dainty, 2012; Whyte, Ewenstein, Hales, Tidd, 2007). What coordinate the work of design are architectural objects and their distributions. Representations of buildings, such as drawings and renders, give teams a surface on which to communicate, and present a means of persuading clients (Houdart, 2008; Rose et al., 2014; Whyte et al., 2007). Objects coordinate meetings among designers (Murphy, 2004; Schmidt et al., 2012) or with users and clients (Loukissas, 2012; Luck, 2012; Yaneva, 2009a: pp. 177-187). Drawings and models remain in the project, finding unexpected roles in operation after operation (Yaneva 2005, 2009a, 2009b). Architects learn from the objects they accumulate (Yaneva, 2009b), objects that do not replace one another as they would in a step-by-step sequence but become, like a close relation, a fixture in everyday life, in an ever-developing set of ties.

7Given this view of architectural practice, it is understandable that social scientists would take a particular kind of architectural story, a representation of the design process, as a theoretical problem. For instance, faced with an architect’s sketch of the design process, Yaneva (2009b, p. 13) says, “[...] there are many rhythmic conduits through which the building develops and they would not necessarily correspond to one particular stage in the process diagram drawn by [the architect]”. It has become a task of social scientists to find a more appropriate form of narrative, looking beyond the simplicity of the ‘building’ to the complexity of the building process. About an ethnography of one studio, Houdart and Minato (2009, p. 15) ask, “[…] how does one not lose sight of [architect] Kuma and the singularity of his architecture in the midst of so many details recorded every day?” Jacobs (2006, p. 11) aims to describe “the diverse fields of relations that hold this building together over time and in space” (see also Jacobs, Cairns, Strebel, 2007, 2008; Strebel, 2011). Here the concern with narrative is a concern with, as Houdart and Minato (2009, p. 15) put it, recomposition or, in Yaneva (2009a, p. 75), recollection: the movement from a project, with its many pieces, to the ability to say, ‘this is a building’. Narrating the building process becomes what social scientists do, an alternative to the narrative techniques of the architects themselves.

8Social scientists have also dealt with narrative as a window into values and beliefs, irrespective of the way practice unfolds in daily life. In Cuff (1992, p. 20), ‘‘What architects want us to hear about design practice often tells us more about beliefs and ideals than about the principles that guide action, or theories-in-use”. This is also a stance Loukissas takes, framing “conflicting or unstable narratives as evidence of cultural disputes and professional shifts, large and small” (p. 108). Loukissas (2012) follows Bruner’s (1987) understanding of biography as a creative act. For Bruner, to narrate one’s life is not to report on a self-evident phenomenon, but to use the techniques of storytelling, to “[…] structure [experience] in a manner that gives form to the content and the continuity of the life” (Bruner, 1987, p. 23). Bruner argues that narratives are “[…] recipes for structuring experience itself” (p. 31), a view that clashes with an ethnographic literature that shows us how the narrative constructions of architects often veer away from the courses of objects and practitioners. Both Cuff and Loukissas give us detailed observations of architects at work, and are clearly interested in everyday experience. Yet in these studies, the relationship between story and practice is less important than the ability of story to reveal aspects of mind.

9Since the working lives of architects are filled with stories, we might expect those stories to engage (in some way) with the unfolding of practice. In architecture, stories have efficacy. When architects compose the building’s multiple existences into something unitary, it is often in a presentation or a conversation (Houdart, Minato, 2009; Yaneva, 2005, 2009a). Architects tell stories to enact the paths that users take through a building (Murphy, 2011). This is especially key when a ‘building’ exists only as a site, as a story can indicate to a client how a building will unfold (Stark, Paravel, 2008; Streeck, 2009, pp. 127-131). Architectural instructors tell to their students stories about other buildings, offering critique by way of exemplar (Murphy et al., 2012). These stories perform work for the architects. While they may appear to abstract away from the course of practice, they are also enmeshed within it.

10Sometimes architects tell stories to give a building coherence. Other times, they bring already coherent stories into a buildling project. In previous work, I show how the procurement route is one story, a script, that architects engage with in their work. In recent human geography, we see architectural projects incorporating narratives from elsewhere, whether in specialist schools (Kraftl, 2006), utopian buildings (Kraftl, 2010) or government initiatives (den Besten, Horton, Adey, Kraftl, 2011). In architecture, story exists alongside the complexity and messiness of everyday work.

11While there are ample examples of storytelling within architecture, it is unclear how storytelling and practice engage. We may ask, does storytelling always abstract away from practice, giving the impression of coherence when there is none? Or is there a mode of architectural storytelling that can, as it were, deploy the mess? In one sense, ecology and story are opposed. Narratives about projects set themselves up for recalcitrance. Yet the swings and curves of a project are things that architects are already aware of things they worry about and discuss, and perhaps incorporate in story.

12This study considers what happens when we accept the conclusions from ethnographers of architecture that practice is ecological, and that architects’ stories can embark on imaginative flights of fancy, while also exploring the possibility that a step-by-step narrative can nevertheless engage with the texture of architectural work. Geographers such as Jacobs and Merriman (2011, p. 219) and Lorne (2017, p. 277) have called for social scientists to take the statements of architects more seriously. This study aims to do so while not losing sight of architecture’s ecological character.

Narrating ecologies of practice in architecture

13I have suggested that since stories prevail in the work of architects, and architects experience their work as a non-linear agglomeration, there is a form of architectural storytelling that does not conceal this agglomeration but extends from it. Considering a prominent theory for the way practice and story develop together (Ingold, 2007), I suggest the form this storytelling might take.

14What is noteworthy about Ingold’s (2007, pp. 90-96) analysis of storytelling is that it proceeds from a certain understanding of form and movement. Form and movement, Ingold says, come int obeing together in the drawing of lines. Lines, whether inscribed on paper or traced through a landscape, exist through certain kinds of movement. In one, the direction of the line precedes the moment of line-making. These are the lines of marching troops and printed maps. In another, itineraries and traces develop in tandem, improvising along the contours of a surface. This is the movement of a hand-drawn map or of a forager in a landscape: wayfaring. This kind of movement lends itself to a kind of storytelling:

As with the line that goes out for a walk, in the story as in life there is always somewhere further one can go. And in storytelling as in wayfaring, it is in the movement from place to place – or from topic to topic – that knowledge is integrated. (Ingold, 2007, p. 91)

15Ingold gives us a picture of narrative as a kind of movement, corresponding to the practice of wayfaring. Like ecologies of practice and the wayfaring line, the improvised story has no beginning or end, accumulating knowledge as it takes un-planned directions.

16Ingold (2007) defines a form of storytelling that does not determine or veer from the shape of the world, but moves along with it. We can ask, then, to what extent storytelling in architecture can take this form. To the extent that it does, architectural narrative can accommodate the ecological quality of practice. To the extent that it does not, narrative remains an object of critique, a shadow of other movements and transformations.

17To investigate the extent to which architects can narrate ecologies of practice, I turn to an artefact in which practice and narrative come into contact: the Plan of Work Stage Report, in which architects describe the way their projects relate to a set of pre-deterimned project stages, an ideal progression from conception to construction.

Stage reports and the Plan of Work

18In the UK construction industry, the Plan of Work is both an artefact and a set of categories for stages within a construction project. Stages are understood as part of a linear (but cyclical) sequence, and include, among others, conceptual design, technical design, construction and use. At the time of writing, the Plan is available online ( When architects agree to complete a project for a client in the UK, they often also agree, at each Plan of Work stage in which the architects are involved, to submit a report. The report describes the state of the project, and does so in terms of the Plan of Work. It becomes an administrative tool for the client.

19Because the architects represent the state of project to the client in terms of an abstract set of stages, the Plan of Work report gives us an opportunity to see how architects narrate not a building but a design process, in all of its intermediacy and multiplicity.

20I met ‘Owen’ (all interviewees have been given pseudonyms) for an interview at his office in the Manchester City Council (MCC) building. Owen was involved in the procurement process for the Town Hall Complex Transformation Programme. Throughout the 2010s, two buildings and two public squares adjoining the Town Hall underwent refurbishment, including Manchester Central Library. In the conversation, Owen acquainted me with the Plan of Work report and its place in a project.

[…] Stage A is concept. Stage L is operation. So [the Plan of Work] walks you through all of the key processes, and in each one of those, it sets out quite clearly what you should be expecting to get and what the architect is achieving at each one of those stages. Generally at stages C, D, E, you’ll get a report. And that report will effectively comprise of a number of documents, whether it’s drawings, specifications, reports on things like environmental performance, building performance, fire, you know, all the, security, all that kind of stuff.
And what that does, it gives you an opportunity to take a step back. Because obviously you imagine when you working through the design process it can be quite intensive. And when it comes to the end of a work stage it gives you the ability to step back and say, Okay, what have we created? And it gives you the ability to just quickly overview where you are and think, “That’s not quite right”, or “We don’t really need that”, “We need to change this because that doesn’t really work very well”.
[…] That’s effectively how it’s structured. It’s really effective. It’s been around as long as I’ve been in the industry and I think it works brilliantly. (Interview with Owen, 26 September 2013)

21There is a metaphor in Owen’s description that is worth drawing attention to: the Plan of Work “walks you through all of the key processes […]”. In the description above, the Plan of Work may be a static set of stages, but it entails movement. Further, that movement is a walk. And if the Plan of Work moves in one way, the report is a reversal of the movement, from end to beginning, not a ‘walk’ but an ‘overview’.

22In Owen’s explanation we see reflections of Ingold (2007). If the Plan of Work walks you through the project, the Plan of Work report, while issuing from a position of rest, continues the walk as narrative.

23I now provide a close reading of a Stage C and Stage D reports for the renovation of Manchester Central Library between 2010 and 2014. As we will see, the dynamic between movement and punctuation informs the narrative techniques of the Plan of Work report, and in a way that differs tellingly from Ingold’s (2007) analysis.

Narrating the project in the Stage Report

24Rather than tell a story that weaves through the elements, the reports position the elements beside one another, simultaneous and multiple. In the Manchester Central Library project, the reports for Stage C and Stage D are organised by theme. The Stage C report has three sections. After a two-page introduction, the section, “The Brief and Design Process” is divided by regions within the existing library, then lists items within the brief. There are subsections for qualities like “Heritage” (p. 17) and “The Third Place” (p. 18). The Stage D report has a similar structure, moving from a three-page introduction to a section on ‘The Brief and the Design Process’ and a section entitled ‘Design Proposals’. In the first of these sections, each subsection has to do with a space in the existing building. At the end of the section is a table of building surveys, summarizing the surveys alongside one another. The section, “Design Proposals” is organised again by space (“Fourth Floor”, “New vertical circulation core”, “Works to Van Dock”…), as well as by kind of object (“Approach to Doors”). In parts, the elements are versions of one another. The Stage C report, for instance, presents different options for intervening within each floor of the library. Whether aspects or versions of a building, what populate the reports are self-contained descriptions of discrete elements.

25At the same time, individual sections within the reports contain narratives. One is a description of the Henry Watson Music Library. This is under its own heading in section 2.1 of the Stage C report, ‘Existing Building’, a single paragraph long. Part of the paragraph reads:

Originally located at ground floor, currently on second, the Henry Watson Music Library is at the heart of music in Manchester. Dr Henry Watson was a prominent Manchester musician and academic. After his death in 1911, the contents of his private collection of 16,700 volumes were bequeathed to the city. This collection has now grown into one of the largest public library music collections in the UK. (Stage C Report, p. 10)

26The two reports are filled with similar fragments, often stories in themselves, yet unconnected to the fragments that adjoin them. The narrative above is historical. Others propose interventions. Occasionally, the fragments narrate movement through the building. One fragment, for instance, is from a four-page subsection of the Stage C report, “Ground floor”, interspersing descriptions of destinations with descriptions of movement.

A long sweeping incline from the amphitheatre moves to the upper level and will be the gateway to the Archive+ [a technical term within the brief] and city treasures. Here the public wil [sic] be able to view some of Manchester’s most precious property. Archive film footage will be viewed in individual pods that step down off the incline. (Stage C Report, p. 57)

27This description identifies an element and, using metaphors of space and movement, links it to another: “a long sweeping incline”, “the gateway to the Archive+ and city treasures”. There are pauses to mention views: “Here the public…”. While this fragment narrates a movement that coordinates objects within the library-to-be, it does so within the confines of a single sub-section.

28We can still glean a sense of continuous movement. In the reports are references to other moments or sites in the project. Stage D includes a list of changes in the proposals that had taken place between Stage C and the planning application, and changes between the planning application and Stage D. The Stage C report names items that could not be developed, leaving them for Stage D. Stage D lists things to leave for Stage E. Some sections of Stage D are simply references to the team’s collaboration software, ‘BIW’. The section labelled, “5.0 Procurement and Programme” reads, in its entirety, “Refer to MCC programmes available on BIW” (p. 75). The reports are not complete, nor are they cohesive. What they present is an itinerary through elements of a project, where some elements extend beyond the capacity of the reports to describe.

29The Stage C and D reports are not so much stories in the sense of Ingold (2007), moving constinuously between elements, but are instead more of a collection. They are narrative only within fragments. Rather than weave the multiple elements of a project together into a story, the reports translate this multiplicity onto a new surface. They are less story than inventory.

30As Owen explains it, the Plan of Work sets out one kind of movement, and the Plan of Work report sets out another. While the report accompanies the design process, it does not correspond to a process of improvisation in the way Ingold (2007) characterises storytelling. In other words, while the creative, spontaneous work of architecture might avail itself to a ‘wayfaring’ form of narrative, it does not do so here. To account for the discrepancy, let us situate the Plan of Work report within observations of the Plan of Work as it exists in architectural practice.

Stories, stages and journeys in the Plan of Work

31The Stage C and Stage D reports collate elements without necessarily weaving them into a narrative. In this way the reports follow a tendency that I have described elsewhere in the context of architectural projects spanning multiple sites and adopting formal procedures. I relate this tendency to architectural design in general, where multiple objects take part in design in their own ways, none replacing or standing in for any other (see Section 2). Here, no single element can conjure the whole ecology into existence. Thus to move the project, to bring it into the office of the client, requires a document (or a collated packet of documents) that preserves this multiple quality.

32Yet we can imagine an alternative situation in which Stage C and D reports weave like Ingold’s (2007) wayfarer through the elements, telling a story of bodies and objects in motion. The fact that the Stage C and D reports do not inscribe lines of storytelling does not mean architects cannot tell stories with their elements. If they had, this would not have been available to me: by the time I encountered the library project, the work of the architects had long ended. What was available was a set of traces.

33At the same time, the Plan of Work report reveals a technique for narrating the project in which the work of recollection is not one of weaving through the project, pulling elements into an account of movement, but one of collating descriptions. This kind of narration enacts a particular understanding of how UK architectural projects unfold: a continuous agglomeration that moves through discrete junctures, a journey and a set of stages.

34In the UK architectural press and in interviews with architects, one of Owen’s claims (Section 4) comes across as particularly resonant: the Plan of Work is ‘really effective. It’s been around as long as I’ve been in the industry and I think it works brilliantly’. The architects I spoke to readily connected moments in their projects with stages in the Plan of Work. Any event within a project simply takes place ‘at’ a stage. Architects improvise, there are discoveries and surprises, but the unexpected unfolds during one stage or another. This was even the case as the RIBA unveiled a new Plan of Work. Describing projects to me, architects would say that a given event took place at an old Plan of Work stage, then, as if translating a language, cite a category from the new Plan. Stages identify a region of time. For the architects, a given activity simply belongs to a stage, no matter what sorts of meanderings have led to it.

35One way architects talk about the project in relation to the Plan of Work is through a vocabulary of deliverables. Architects produce fragments of information, which travel alongside others, moving from site to site. Alan, an architect who was involved in producing the 2013 RIBA Plan of Work, describes the progression this way:

And I think the crucial thing that a lot of people still don’t get is that the Plan of Work is really the first step of design activity–not design activity, it’s almost like a data journey through a project from Stage Zero to Seven and back to Stage Zero. Yes, different forms of procurement will engage with that data journey, but it doesn’t fundamentally change that data flow as you go through the different stages. (Interview with Alan, 11 September 2014)

36Alan is talking about the new Plan of Work stages, which are numbered between zero and seven. He tells me that the new Plan of Work allows clients to adjust the contents of each stage based on the procurement route. At the same time, an architectural project is a movement and a coming-together of information. Architects and clients need a certain set of data to perform each task in the Plan of Work, from procurement to construction. What they draw from is the same agglomeration, only at different moments in the project. Later in the interview, Alan clarifies what he means by the term ‘data journey’:

What was becoming quite commonplace is a lot of projects is clients were talking about [Stage] ‘D Minus’ and [Stage] ‘C Plus’ and what we’re saying with the Plan of Work is the stage doesn’t change. You don’t have a ‘Two Plus’ or a ‘Three Minus’. You just have information exchanges that have a bit more in them. So that’s the way that we’re trying to encourage people to work. Don’t think about stages. A stage is a stage. If you as a client want more information at Stage Two to submit a planning application, you’re just shifting some of the Stage Three work into the information exchanges at Stage Two, but you’re probably not doing Stage Three work. Again, if the client needs Stage Two information for a planning application, then there’s huge risk there. You can’t just save something as Stage Three when it’s not Stage Three. (Interview with Alan, 11 September 2014)

37Alan makes a distinction between two ways of understanding architectural products. First, there are the individual artefacts that architects produce within the total agglomeration of artefacts in a project. Second, there is the data with which project participants perform the tasks indicated in each stage of the Plan of Work. The reason it is not possible to describe a ‘D minus’ or ‘C plus’, he says, is that adding architectural products to a stage does not change the category to which a task is assigned (“A stage is a stage”). Meanwhile, the very same architectural artefacts travel through a ‘data journey’, part of an accumulation. The data journey encounters pauses. There are junctures where a client needs particular information to produce a deliverable.

38RIBA Plan of Work stages act as something other than mere temporal markers. Alan is sure to specify that each stage is distinct, that “You can’t just save something as Stage Three when it’s not Stage Three”. There are moments where one Plan of Work stage presents an architect with a task that would not have existed in another. The RIBA stage report is one exmaple. There are others as well. A managing architect, Simon, describes how his firm incorporates the RIBA stages into practice:

We have processes for each RIBA stage of the old stage B, C, D, E. For each stage we have to carry out certain tasks and produce a stage report. The stage report has certain deliverables in, and they build up to when the planning submission is and when the procurement for the main contractor is and stuff like that. Our management procedures say we should do all these tasks, we should get them signed off, we should ask the client these questions, we audit, various decision making processes, various design making process, each stage, and they were all built around the RIBA[’s] old plan of work. And so basically we just tailor them. (Interview with Simon, 27 January 2014)

39As Simon mentions, clients set requirements for the contents of the stage reports. The text and images that go into the reports are not narrative threads through a non-linear ecology of practice but deliverables that the architects are required to produce and collate. In this sense, the Plan of Work report is similar to a planning application or Invitation to Tender. These documents include spaces for other elements: images, passages of text or other documents. Each of these elements has its own process of production and place in the ecology. Collated together on a surface, these elements move together between offices.

40The Plan of Work Stage C and Stage D reports are recollections of architectural work as both an ecology and a linear progression. This is because, of what Alan tells me are two understandings of architectural products, the stage report enacts both: as data moving in a single flow; and as discrete tasks within a sequence of stages. We can see the second in the architectural products that make up the reports. These are descriptions of building assessments or surveys, lists of concepts and a host of diagrams, renders and photographs, organized under headings appropriate to the stage. At the same time, each set of objects in each Plan of Work report travels together, collated inside the headings and pages of the report. These things extend beyond the report, as we see in the reports’ references to other architectural products.

Ecologies and stories

41I have explored the possibility that the stories architects tell about architecture are not only reflections of values or acts of imaginative self-construction, but also take place in response to the actual texture of practice. My guide toward a hypothesis has been Ingold’s (2007) understanding of storytelling in its ‘wayfaring’ mode: as a kind of line-work, moving from topic to topic. These stories, for Ingold, weave themselves through the things in our world, pulling them together into a path that follows the course of practice. From a close reading of two Plan of Work stage reports and analysis of fieldwork in the UK construction industry, we have seen how the stage report narrates practice: not as a wayfaring line, but as a collation of elements. Here is a kind of narration that diverges from Ingold’s while revealing, in this divergence, aspects of practice and narration in the UK construction industry.

42In this way, the Plan of Work stage reports demonstrate how we can take the narrative techniques of architects seriously while also preserving our understanding of practice as an ecology. The stage report in its own way repeats the ecological quality of architectural work. The ecology of practice is recollected, yes, but also re-transported, leaving open the possibility of splitting it apart and re-collecting it again in other documents, other reports. It is clearly the case that the RIBA stage reports are part of an ecology. They are incomplete, referring to documents that both exist elsewhere and have yet to be prepared. But in themselves, they also take on aspects of a building project: a multitude of fragments, occurring together and preserved.

43It is worth speculating why the sort of recollection we see in RIBA reports is so fragmented in comparison to the stories architects tell one another in the course of practice (especially in Murphy, 2011). The argument that Murphy (2011, p. 251) makes about architects’ spoken and gestured ‘skits’ is that ‘Over time, the residue of these skits [...] helps create an imaginary, miniature, and almost inhabited building in the interstices between architectural drawings, gestures, and language’. Murphy’s stories are more along the lines of Ingold’s (2007), weaving otherwise disconnected elements into a path.

44While the recollecting practices of architects in this and Murphy’s (2011) cases vary, both are relationships with the multiplicity of the architectural project. In this case, the Plan of Work stage report responds to this multiplicity while incorporating one quality of the stage as an epistemic artefact: the stage is both a stopping point and a temporal region within a continuous agglomeration of products. As a temporal region, it is a technique for ascribing qualities to events, both temporal qualities and instrumental or teleological ones: ‘Such and such an event took place during Stage 0, and has to do with briefing’. As a stopping point, it is a moment of naming objects within a project and gathering them under headings, taking the accumulated mass as a whole, frozen in time, collected while still in fragments.

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Bibliographical reference

Paul Gottschling, “Stories, Stages and Journeys:”Ardeth, 2 | 2018, 118-135.

Electronic reference

Paul Gottschling, “Stories, Stages and Journeys:”Ardeth [Online], 2 | 2018, Online since 01 June 2020, connection on 19 July 2024. URL:

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About the author

Paul Gottschling

Independent -researcher –

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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