Architects of Objects or Architects of Balance

"Architects of Objects or Architects of Balance"

Architecture is always in motion[1]: from a user’s desire to a design concept; to construction sites and built spaces; to finally being used, misused, or later neglected. Architects understand that architecture is always in motion; however they overestimate the object with a “talisman complex”[2] at the expense of people. Sociologists are catching up to architects’ comprehension of space by inventing a “photographic gun” that begun to unravel some controversies of architecture.[3]

However, with actor-network theory, architectural sociologists are doomed to endlessly trace connections; while architects are doomed with their own self-justifying “retrospective manifestos.” We need to begin by tracing the “assemblies of assemblages” and then launch into a circularly reflexive praxis—integrating both the critical proximity (of sociology) and the critical distance (of architecture) to build new architectures.

To ground this fresh epistemology of architecture I will empirically trace the production of architectural knowledge in the university—in our era of environmental, economic, and political crises—to understand how architecture has responded with new methods of experimentation, connections to place, and progressive political intentions. Ethnographic research conducted throughout the US will be traced to reveal connections between ideas (design intentions, pedagogies, publication representations), agents (architects, students, clients, communities), and objects (buildings, tools, regional-geographies).

The assembled network of architectural knowledge reveals that new techniques are necessary as “crossbench practices"[4] to slice through mountains of indecipherable theory and erect new spaces capable of confronting our geo-political crises.


4. Markus Miessen, The Nightmare of Participation: Crossbench Praxis as a Mode of Criticality, Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010.

** if you're interested in the full paper, let me know, and I can email it to you. :-)

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