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Publication Detail
Designed and emergent tectonics: resituating architectural knowledge
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Psarra S, Kostourou F, Krenz K
  • Publisher:
    Blackwell Publishing
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    15, 32
  • Journal:
    The Plan Journal
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    architecture, authorship, autonomy, design research, disciplinarity
Architecture is usually defined through intent while cities come into being out of multiple human actions over a long period of time. This seems to trap us between a view of architecture as authored object, and a view of the city as authorless, evolutionary process. The debate about the autonomous and the contingent object thus, goes back to the separation of architecture from its skill base in craft and building practice that took place in the Renaissance. This separation also includes the operations through which buildings and cities are produced by designers, clients, users, regulatory codes, markets and infrastructures. The resurgence in the debate on the competing claims of autonomy and contingency testifies that since the Renaissance we have failed to develop theories and techniques that address the relationship between authored architecture and authorless contexts. As a result, coupled with commercial forces, recent advancements in digital technology and complexity theory claim architecture and the city as self-organization, dismantling architecture and depriving it from relevance in shaping social capital. If in the Renaissance, architecture was separated from the city, which was the relationship between the ways in which a city was built and the urban fabric? How can we better understand the relationship between the architectural project and the processes that configure the urban structure in which it is situated? This paper argues that for architecture to reclaim its scope as a social discipline it needs to theorise its relationship with the social, the political and the economic processes of its context.
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