Schools Exhibition

Open Call for the International Architecture Schools Exhibition “Handful”

The Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2022 Architecture Schools exhibition “Handful” takes a look at manual skills and material knowledge as important tools in the toolbox of today’s architect. End of open call is 31.03.2022.

Is manual dexterity a mere remnant of a romanticized 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 International Architecture Schools Exhibition is part of the TAB 2022 main programme and invites architecture students, architects and other creators from Estonia and abroad to participate.

The exhibition is curated by architects and spatial artists Merilin Kaup, Margus Tammik and Ulla Alla.


“If the hand is left uncultivated, could one speak of a deficient educationvw as one would if it were a matter of the mind or the heart?”  1

One can be born with kinesthetic talent, but it is necessary to learn, practice and experiment in order to acquire good skills. Manual skills are cognitive and cunning, 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.

We can imagine that 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, handy 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.

“Work does something with the doer. This effect is spiritual. The end result is therefore not only a finished object, but also a contribution to one’s self- understanding. By using one’s hands, a person becomes more human.” 2

There is something therapeutic about working with our hands – this is especially evident in a situation where architects have lost much of their contact with the materials they are using in their designs, and the physical experience of the world recedes in front of the hours spent behind the screen.

Among other things, this therapeutic value stands in the concentrated presence required by masterful craftsmanship. Mastery involves risk and human self- transcendence that is lacking in machine work. In the case of handicrafts, the quality of the end result is not predetermined but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care invested by the maker.

  1. Salomon, Otto. Käsityöt kasvatuksen välikappaleena eli kasvatusisäin mietteitä ruumillisen työn tervellisestä vaikutuksesta nuorisoon ja kasvatuksellisen veistely-opetuksen teoreetillisiä ohjeita. Olan, 1887:64
  2. Siukonen, Jyrki. Vasar ja vaikus. EKA kirjastus 2016:13


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, we organize one-day workshops, where skills and knowledge are passed on to curious architecture and crafts enthusiasts. The gallery will become a dynamic classroom and studio.

We believe that next to digital enthusiasts there are still numerous spatial artists who quixotically fight the windmills, learning, practising and sharing the knowledge of the hand. The Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2022 Architecture Schools Exhibition ‘‘Handful’’ invites people who learn and teach manual techniques:

old and new, proven and experimental, international and vernacular, hybrids
of the hand and digital, cunning use of new machines, misuse of old tools. As part of this, we invite masters, inventors of new methods, craftsmen, bricoleurs, apprentices, and other makers and thinkers to participate in the exhibition and teach workshops.

Terms and conditions

The open call targets current students, practicing architects, craftsmen and anyone who has ever studied in an architecture school.


The competition consists of 3 stages: 

Stage 1 – please send your work digitally:

Motivation letter – Description of a method or technique and the accompanying work philosophy – approximately 1 A4.

Visual material – Scheme, photograph, collage, diagram, project, video, etc. – max 25 MB

Send your work via email to: Due date: 31.03.2022

Stage 2 – In the second round the curators will continue to work individually
with selected candidates. These candidates will be asked to share and open up about their techniques and working methods before producing the exhibition and preparing for the workshops.

Stage 3 – The workshops and exhibition open in Tallinn.

The exhibition opens on the 7th of September 2022. The techniques and works by selected artists will be exhibited and visitors will have an opportunity to participate in the workshops.

Curators / Jury

Margus Tammik, Merilin Kaup, Ulla Alla

Questions and answers

Submit your questions via email at due date 27 February 2022.

Questions and answers will be published on the TAB 2022 website.