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Publication Detail
Doppelkopf Neuroarchitecture. A Wicked Threshold Space
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Zisch F
  • Date awarded:
  • Pagination:
  • Supervisors:
    Gage S,Spiers H
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL (University College London)
  • Language:
The relationship between built architecture and spatial perception is central to architectural practice and thinking. An interrelation between architecture and the humanities and sciences interested in human experience can be traced historically. Following this primarily phenomenological tradition, the late 20th century and early 21st century have evolved a marked intersection between architecture and neuroscience, commonly known as neuroarchitecture. This PhD situates its research within two contemporary discourses and explores an emergent intersection: the reciprocities and parallels between neural constructions of a cognitive map and architectural thinking about design focussing on the experiential qualities of built architecture. This interstitial exploration is done through the invention of the character of the Doppelkopf who enacts the position of a researcher in both architecture and neuroscience. The Doppelkopf allows theoretical reflection, empirical experiments, and design experiments from both points of understanding and reflect on the nascent intersection. Integral to this endeavour is the integration of neurophilosophy towards a sophisticated and reflexive mechanism. The work takes a critical view of emerging neuroarchitectural strands and questions contemporary approaches that are focused on often solipsistic and predetermined outcome driven design validation. In parallel, a selection of paradigmatic architectural examples, the architects and concepts behind them, and relevant theorists are examined through a Doppelkopf lens. Case studies are taken from the author’s experimental work in architectural design and experimental neuroscience The thesis explores three questions: (1) What sensible potentials does neuroarchitecture hold? How might architecture and neuroscience operate and mutually produce and integrate knowledge? (2) How do spatial cells in the hippocampal formation construct the cognitive map and scaffold the experiential qualities of built architecture and does this relate to the way that architects think about design? (3) How valuable is the ‘Doppelkopf’ as a method of personal, transdisciplinary research? The thesis develops an open, threshold system of thinking and practice where the potential of neuroarchitecture informs and enriches both design and neuroscientific research by proposing the notion of Wickedness as integral to creative movement.
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