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Reflective Subjects in Kant and Architectural Design Education
Reflective Subjects in Kant and Architectural Design Education. Journal of Aesthetic Education 41(1), 2007 ISSN: 0021-8510 pp. 74-89 This 7,000-word article examines the value of a philosophical theory of ‘reflective thinking’ for architectural design. The article develops a scholarly interdisciplinary analysis of primary philosophical texts and identifies original architectural contexts for examination. It reveals these theories through close textual analyses of Kant’s theories of reflection, imagination and space. It also scrutinizes the impact of these ideas through a unique aesthetic theory of ‘subject-figures’, thereby demonstrating the reflective relationship between Kant’s aesthetics and architectural practice and criticism. The article argues that architecture is a discipline in which aesthetic or reflective thinking operates in professional, educational, critical and experiential contexts. It especially shows that Kant’s theory of reflection in the 'Critique of Judgment' (1790) prioritizes sense-based processes, therefore representing a particularly ‘modern’ form of embodied spatial practice. Secondly, it explores this argument by developing a new theory of aesthetic ‘subject-figures’ embodied in three architectural examples: the act of drawing, an art/architectural installation, and Deleuze’s influential philosophical and ‘architectural’ text, 'The Fold' (2001). Its arguments therefore challenge formalist geometric theories in architecture (e.g. Novak, Lynn), which omit the sensory and imaginative basis for constructing geometric architecture, and architectural theories of Kantian space that overlook the 'Critique of Judgment' (e.g. Hatton, Frascari). Finally, it develops an interdisciplinary context for understanding Kant’s theory of space by showing that both philosophical and architectural spaces are produced out of reflective and aesthetic geometric processes. The article was published in Spring 2007, in the American Journal of Aesthetic Education, and presented at the international conference ‘Re-discovering Aesthetics’, University of Cork, 2004. A second version was given at AHRA’s Annual Conference, Nottingham, 2005, and was published in 'From Models to Drawings: Imagination and Representation in Architecture' (London: Routledge, 2007).
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  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
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