Reconciling Poetics and Ethics in Architecture



ANTONIU, Manuela
PhD Candidate, Architectural Association School of Architecture
Being Adam, Being Paris: The Politics of Apple Throwing in Quattrocento Architectural Practice

It is generally held that Alberti was an admirer and a promoter of his contemporaries' talents, notably those of Brunelleschi. Certainly, a first reading of Alberti's dedicatory preface to his treatise, Della pittura, would seem to support this view. However, a closer look at his prefatory praise for Brunelleschi's newly built dome of the Florence cathedral, when read in the light of Alberti's legendary athleticism, throws into question such an assumption. Indeed, a discrepancy is revealed between word and gesture. The resultant gap is analyzed here within the larger context of the prevailing rhetorical practice of the time, that of praising through hyperbole. An absent deontology emerges, a highly deregulated field in which encomium serves as both rhetorical shield and effective launch pad for the covert settling of scores.
BALTAZAR, Ana Paula + Silke KAPP

PhD Candidate, Federal University of Minas Gerais School of Architecture, Belo Horizonte

KAPP, Silke
Senior Lecturer, Federal University of Minas Gerais School of Architecture, Belo Horizonte

Learning from favelas: the poetics of users' autonomous production of space and the non-ethics of architectural interventions

This paper starts by introducing the spontaneous, dynamic and autonomous process of production of the space of Brazilian favelas (illegal settlements where the usually economically excluded from the cities accommodate themselves). It first draws a distinction between favela and its usual English translation—shantytown or slum—, emphasising the informal and autonomous process of its production as opposed to the heteronomous process of production of the formal space of cities. Then, it discusses the usual institutional interventions by the Government, Academy and NGOs, designed by architects and urbanists, which completely ignore the dynamic and autonomous logic of the space of favelas. It then compares the non-planned design process of favelas with the planning tradition of formal architecture. The article finally concludes with a provocative proposal for architects to learn from favelas instead of imposing their traditional processes and products on them, which is illustrated by the `interface of spatiality' designed by the research group MOM (Morar de Outras Maneiras) - which in English is LOW (Living in Other Ways), and its application at the Aglomerado da Serra, the biggest shantytown in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

BERNS, Torben

Adjunct Professor, University at Buffalo, Department of Architecture
The Morality of Happiness: Consent and Wisdom in absentia

Frank Herbert’s 1977 science fiction work, “The Dosadi Experiment” probed a simple legal question of consent in an age where a sentient species makes what it dreams, capable of constructing histories as much as genetically modifying natures. Heidegger’s observations consequent to the recognition of a human condition of throwness seem oddly naive at best in the context of such a reckoning. Given Heidegger’s profound thinking through of the consequences of technological enframing with respect to this condition of being thrown, the prospect of that analysis losing force is profoundly frightening. It is obviously best studied not in terms of technical capabilities, but in terms of the authority that precedes that enframing. That authority by definition is a sort of wisdom, but what kind? Hence the paper reconsiders the debate between the lovers-at-a-distance of wisdom and its would-be possessors. The architect, traditionally cast in a seminal but limited role as the “set maker” has long in actuality reversed that role and come to function less as the face of wisdom so much as the designer of wisdom. In this role as the legislator and an arbitrator of the common good, histories and natures — as much as products — must be adequately rethought in terms of their limit conditions: something which the Dosadi Experiment does very well. The speculation of this paper then is a consideration of the role of the architect from the perspective of security, contentment (and addiction) in terms of progress, authority and right. It is as such, an academically controlled experiment involving the gene-splicing of Alexander Kojeve’s Tyranny and Wisdom” with Herbert’s fictional “Dosadi Experiment.”

BIRD, Lawrence

PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
A step forward, a glance back: metropolis as prosthetic utopia

This paper examines the imagery of the city in the animated film Metropolis by Rintarô and Katsuhiro Ôtomo (2001), a film which film refers back to two earlier Metropolises (Lang, 1927; Tezuka, 1949). The paper adopts the hypothesis that visions of the city such as those cited in this film (including those of Le Corbusier, Hugh Ferriss, and Albert Speer) can be considered as examples of prosthetic imagination. The imagined city is thus revealed as caught up in what Bernard Stiegler refers to as the Epimethean complex: bearing a relation of différance to the present and historical city, looking backward (in delay, too late) as it looks forward (in advance), doubling anticipation with error, utopia with dystopia. As a prosthetic, a utopia falls in the class of what Stiegler proposes as a third genre of being: organized inorganic objects, between animate and inanimate, where it belongs with architecture. This suggests that utopias should actually promise us not a homeland but instead a "not-at-home" land, where we dwell with other emanations and animations of the strange.

CABRAL FILHO, Jose dos Santos

Assistant Professor, Federal University of Minas Gerais School of Architecture, Belo Horizonte
Digital Sacrifice: the space between architecture, body and information technology

Despite the extreme rationalization of our culture it is not difficult to point out current vestiges of mythical dilemmas, and information technology can be viewed as just another reenactment of our discomfort/awe before nature. Considering this uncanny presence of mythical drives behind our digital culture, this paper proposes and discusses five aphorisms that problematize the relationship between digital technology, the body and architecture: (i) The desiring body is a subjective construction, trespassed by language, there foreamenable to modeling; (ii) Architecture, the technological space par excellence, is constructed in relation to the body; (iii) The foundation of contemporary digital universe is the body and its destination to death; (iv) The aesthetization of the digital space transmute the body into a kind of sacrificial cyborg; (v) The convergence of digital technology and architecture may alleviate the body from a self-inflicted sacrifice.

CAICCO, Gregory

Independent Scholar
Architecture, Ethics and the Personhood of Place

This paper begins with a meditation on the Dine (Navajo) “Hogan Song” which repeats the phrase “it is placed, it is placed” and recalls the beginning times at the “Rim of the Emergence Place” as way of blessing, protecting and nourishing the personhood of newly constructed dwellings. How might secular Euro-American modernity understand this sort of architectural ethics as poetics, relationship and blessing? Might the Western tradition of building remember anew its own origin stories where nature was less a resource to mine than flesh-of-our-flesh, where walls and bridges were once fed to remain strong? This paper proposes that these ancient, now marginalized voices, hold a key for furthering and deepening any future discourse on architectural ethics as a vehicle for place-making.

CARTER, Jennifer

PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
The ethics of conservation, the poetics of reconstruction: Conservation, pedagogy, and historiography at the Musée des monuments français (1795-1816)

As founder of France’s first national museum of sculpture, Alexandre Lenoir was a highly controversial figure, and his creation and inclusion of the fabrique as a seminal element of the MMF presented an emerging curatorial discipline with foundational ethical questions. Museological conservation was one of the strategic cultural projects launched by the Republican government following the overthrow of the Ancien régime, and its first official guidelines (1790 and 1794) articulated an ethics and practice that defined the scope and application of preservation methods, without addressing the more pressing need to repair mutilated objects that, paradoxically, this very revolution had made a reality. If unethical as fictional instrusions, Lenoir’s assemblages of sculptural débris nevertheless furthered the cause of another of the era’s revolutionary goals, that of societal reform. This paper explores how the contentious museographic innovations introduced by Lenoir poetically addressed new historiographic and subjective ideals towards animating the past, and as such were one individual’s attempts to realize both the larger pedagogical objectives of the French Revolution and the restitution of a fractured national ethos.

CASTRO, Ricardo L.

Associate Professor, McGill University School of Architecture
Ambulating Through Choreographed Landscapes: Teaching Phenomenological Principles in Situ

This paper illustrates an aspect of my interest in the ritual of procession through architectural choreographed landscapes and its relationship to the teaching of design principles as manifested in the Summer Courses in Greece that I have offered at the McGill School of Architecture since 1994. I examine here ambulation through the sacred “temenos” of two ancient Greek sanctuaries, namely, the Amphiaraion and Delphi. I believe that the simple act of walking, with all its sensorial implications, frequently shifting and interconnecting horizons through ramps, stairs, passages, and markers was a contribution to the attainment of a total heightened experience desirable in a sacred precinct, where architecture seems to have emerged in direct harmony with its surroundings. Here, the act of walking, the procession as it were, was an inherent criterion in the process of design and place-making enhanced poetically by a masterful choreography of buildings, markers, and topographical features.


PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
Violence, Desire and the Architectural Act of Articulation

The “architectural act” in a tectonic sense deals with joining one thing to another. In the Homeric epics, the articulation of warrior bodies and finely crafted objects (daidala) figures as a source of agency in a world in which living and nonliving were not understood as fundamentally separate. Further, in speaking of friendship (through conventions of guest relationships and exchanges of daidala), and of feuds and grudges (through exchanges of wounds and deaths), these poems establish interpersonal relationships as a kind of binding network or articulation of personal bonds among mortals and immortals that—like the strength in one’s knees or the quasi-invincibility bestowed by a daidaleos cuirass—defines an individual’s obligation and ability to act. I will argue that in this sense, the “architectural act” of articulation in the Homeric world was not only material but social and political, motivated at once by human desires and personal responsibility.

CHUPIN, Jean-Pierre

Associate Professor, Université de Montreal, École d’architecture
Modulor or the Misfortunes of Virtue

Qui a-t-il de commun entre : une série de monuments de l’art mondial (dont les pyramides d’Egypte, le Parthénon, et L’amour vache de Géricault), une montre suisse de luxe, un club de ski, une boutique design en ligne, un manuel de scoutisme, un lapin en peluche, une maison écobiologique, un blogue de jeunes punks californiens, un discours de Roger Taillibert, une composition musicale savante, une prothèse chirurgicale en inox, un système constructif brésilien, une ruche en kit, un composé chimique de formule C13H19N0, une éructation de Guy Debord, un palettiseur industriel, un format de bouteille, un morceau de musique électronique du groupe Air, une annonce d’agence de rencontre matrimoniale?
Réponse sur Internet : le Modulor.

Le Modulor, imaginé par Le Corbusier et ses proches collaborateurs à la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale, est certainement l’une des tentatives les plus Modernes et les plus paradoxales visant à réconcilier l’éthique et la poétique mais également, dans les termes même du héraut, de la modernité : « le mètre et le pied-pouce ». En 1955, Le Corbusier concluait la deuxième version de son « grand œuvre » par un appel au pragmatisme. « La parole est aux usagers » lançait-il avec la certitude de celui qui a le sentiment d’avoir accompli son devoir et d’avoir reçu la bénédiction du grand Einstein lui-même. Il s’agissait ni plus ni moins que de mettre au point une « règle d’or » pour définir des mesures architecturales à « l’échelle de l’homme », dans l’espoir de régler bien des problèmes… de l’humanité.

Suscitant un certain espoir, en particulier dans le grand public, ce qui est en soi remarquable pour une idée architecturale, cette belle idée subira pourtant quelques revers théoriques et pratiques cuisants. Cinquante années plus tard, les habitants du cyberespace auront définitivement raison de ce projet numérique et analogique : laissant le célèbre personnage, l’homme du Modulor, à proprement parler « célibataire ».

COLE, Raymond J. + Daniel PEARL

COLE, Raymond J.
Director, University of British Columbia, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

PEARL, Daniel
Associate Professor, Université de Montréal, Faculté de l’aménagement, School of Architecture

In the Pursuit of 'dynamic quality': Blurring Boundaries in the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Design

The objective of this paper is to examine the ways that the notion of “bounding” has proved both valuable and problematic in building and communal environmental research and practice. More significantly, the paper explores the consequences of “blurring” boundaries and the consequences for future advances in the discussion of designing and assessing buildings, communities and projects that support both poetic and sustainable patterns of living. The paper uses three key distinct realms within the current environmental debate where boundaries play a decisive role:

The conceptual boundary that defines the current scope and structure of building and sustainable community assessment methods.

The designation of distinct building and communal environmental strategies that are capable of being assessed and evaluated within the more blurred realm of social values, ethics and economics.

The “culture of sustainable design” and the professional and ethical responsibilities of the members of the design team.


PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
Pierre levees, nationalisme et territorialité dans le discours de J.-A. Dulaure (1755-1835)

Ma proposition s’inscrit dans une réflexion sur les rapports entre territorialité, architecture et nationalisme. L’architecture est un acte éminemment identitaire qui participe au développement de l’identité nationale de deux façons très différentes. D’une part, l’architecture développe et affirme une identité culturelle (style, méthode de construction, matériaux, etc.) et d’autre part, l’acte de construire consiste à s’approprier ou à réclamer un territoire. Ces deux modes identitaires sont très différents et soulèvent un grand problème : l’identité nationale doit-elle être revendiquée comme phénomène culturelle ou plutôt dans ses droits à un territoire particulier? Afin de réfléchir à cette question, je m’interroge sur les rapports complexes entre territoire, architecture et nationalisme qui se développent à la fin du 18e siècle en France. Les travaux de l’historien, géographe et architecte Jacques-Antoine Dulaure sont à cet égard exemplaire.

Durant les années révolutionnaires, l’engouement pour tout ce qui appartient à l’histoire locale, nationale, devient en France une véritable obsession. En 1805, un petit groupe d’hommes très actifs, J.-A. Dulaure et ses collègues, mettent en place une institution nouvelle chargée de promouvoir l’histoire de l’art français. Le but de cette nouvelle Académie Celtique est de documenter les antiquités d’architecture trouvées exclusivement sur le territoire français. Ils se passionnent pour les monuments primitifs, les dolmens, cippes, bornes ou murailles qui couvrent le sol de France. Dans son essai sur les frontières, Dulaure est définitif, ces monolithes de pierre qu’il nomme « pierres limitantes » ou « pierres levées », sont les « premières pensées de l’homme sur les institutions sociales ». Dans le contexte du colloque, à partir des écrits de J.-A. Dulaure, j’amorcerai une réflexion sur les liens entre nationalisme, régionalisme, territoire et architecture afin d’apprécier la complexité de ces enjeux dans le contexte actuel.

DE ORDUNA, Santiago

PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
Tree, Cross, Umbrella: ethics and poetics of sacrifice

A profound sense of responsibility with the cosmos permeated every act of the ancient Mexicans. Not sin, but “ontological debt” towards the gods, - impersonators of the natural world- drove to the construction of cities, ritual compounds and households which were built around the sacrificial rite. With the construction of the Fortress/Monasteries over the ruins of the ancient ritual compounds during the Spanish colony, the link to the cosmos was diminished while a new relationship with the transcendent was promoted. Out of the combination of the two ways of inhabiting the world, the Native and the Christian, a metaphoric process resulted which permeates contemporary manifestations being a good example of the National Museum of Anthropology.

DIONNE, Caroline

Independent Scholar
Architecture as ‘Fair Play’

Positing that the architect, as author and creator of a work, inevitably “expresses” something (albeit unconsciously) and, on the other hand, that the observer approaches the built work with a certain level of expectation (the desire to comprehend and feel “at home”), this paper wishes to explore the concept of “play” (game) as a potential way of (re) defining a common ground of signification between architect and observer. Any game involves an acknowledged body of rules, as well as clearly defined roles for the players. Closed upon itself, the realm of the game is circumscribed by ethical principles that condition its proper unfolding. Architecture as “play” means that the aim of architectural creation is geared toward the creation of appropriate conditions of participation allowing for the observer to significantly engage with the work. Architecture as “fair play” involves a careful equilibrium between the architect's personal aspirations and the observer's dreams.


PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
Mirage as Architecture: The Soil of Desert, the Soul of Man

The silence, the heat, the soil, the absence of water, the poverty, the enigmatic plays of light and shadows—the architecture— create perception of holiness and sanctify the desert city as one gets immersed in it. The primary objective of this paper is to explore the metaphors and meaning of space in desert cities that bring up poetic and ethical views concerning the question of representation in architecture. The inimitable tapestry of the architecture, the transient character of the pathways and the timelessness of the city narrate a story that cannot be understood in a linear sense. Entering… exploring… departing the city allows for a unique way of participation in the architectural space, addressing the themes of silence and emptiness and their relation with the minimalist view of architecture in the contemporary world.


Associate Professor, Judson College Department of Architecture
Land-Use Ethic: Background and Contemporary Issues

There are compelling connections between the ideas of early modern landscape designers / conservationists and contemporary concerns for environmental responsibility, sustainability, and ethical practice. Those ideas addressed a holistic, “land-use ethic”; ideas that fell out of currency for much of twentieth century architectural practice, and pedagogy. This paper will examine the work and ideological basis of Jens Jensen and Benton MacKaye to illustrate those connections, and to draw lessons for contemporary practice and pedagogy. The paper will briefly address how the concerns of the conservationists and mainstream modern architecture diverged, and how they have become realigned in concerns for sustainability. Current projects, such as works by Weiss/Manfredi (Museum for the Earth, Flushing Meadows project), and others will demonstrate examples of combining a land-use ethic with exemplary practice. This will support an argument that a land-use-ethic approach has powerful lessons for contemporary practice and pedagogy.


Resident Director, Rice School of Architecture Paris
More than Access: When Disability Inhabits Architecture

In recent decades, an ethical position that strives to emancipate marginalized bodies has broadened the architect's definition of ideal corporeality, especially with regard to physical disabilities that affect mobility. The focus on building accessibility, however, tends to distract from other ways that physical impairment inhabits architecture. This paper examines Rem Koolhaas's Bordeaux House (1994-98) through the lens of recent work in disability studies in order to recast bodily ability in architecture as a cultural, and not only practical, question. Beyond and perhaps despite its use of a room-size lift to solve circulation problems, the Bordeaux House demonstrates how an architectural work can animate deeply rooted fears and aspirations about the human body. It engages a number of key topics in disability studies, including disability as a narrative trope, problems with representing disabled bodies, the form-versus-function debate in prosthetic design, and the uneasy relationship between autonomy and sociability in disability advocacy. This overview of the field through one house suggests further consideration of the relationship between architectural work and notions of bodily ability and disability.


PhD Candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture
The Renaissance and the Medieval Arabic Imagination

It is the purpose of this paper to trace the dramatic shift that the identity of the architect underwent during the Renaissance by tracing its deep, hidden origins within Medieval Arabic thinking that emerged in eleventh and twelfth century Andalusian Spain. This is especially true of the body of thought concerning itself with the imagination and, more specifically, the role of the architect as magus—Relying on the philosophical and scientific writings of the Arab writers and thinkers Averroes, Avicenna, and Alhazen who not only helped introduce classical Western philosophical and scientific writings (for example, those of Plato, Aristotle, and Euclid through their translations and commentaries), but also developed and articulated their own sophisticated views on aesthetics. The paper will demonstrate the ways in which their work on the imagination had crucial implications upon the production of art and its ethics in the Renaissance through the figures of Leon Battista Alberti and Giordano Bruno, and of how this influence indicates a new conceptualization of the architect as Magus - one who conveys knowledge through conjunction and alignment with the divine world and the magical imagination while being capable of making the marvelous (thaumata) and imagining the non-mimetic and the non-existent.


Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture
The Architecture of Survival: the influence of evolutionary theory in modernist design

Since the natural philosophers of the 18th century, western thought has slowly moved away from a creationist story toward an evolutionary view of both time and causality. As traditional ideas about a divine creator, and of divine intention, wane, architectural theory and practice cease to be mimetic of divinity and architectural intentions shift. After Darwin, “survivalism” replaces the teleology, ethos, and eschatology of the Christian belief system; survival becomes the means, cause and end of all entities in the biosphere. For some 20th century architects, the drive to propagate one’s species provides the ultimate legitimation for design. This paper will examine the post-World War II writings of architects such as Richard Neutra – and in particular his 1954 publication entitled “Survival Through Design” – with the aim of unfurling a complex set of intentions rooted in 18th century natural philosophy, Darwinism, and dystopic visions of catastrophic technological excess.


Professor, Cooper Union School of Architecture
No More Shall We Part

Empathy and ethics can be understood as the capacity to recognize and comprehend another’s being and circumstance in the world. This recognition and comprehension is always in space, it requires an exchange across space. One could say that the material of empathy and ethics is space and consequently the articulation of space is intrinsically an ethical question. Architecture is at root an empathetic discipline, a discipline of mediation, with the capacity to mediate an exchange of life and space. Our ontological, cultural and functional desires and necessities echo through the discipline of architecture in a constant exchange with the world. Architecture is itself a promise, a promise to construct shelter and sanctuary, not only for our bodies, but for our mental and emotional lives, a promise to construct sanctuary for our humanity. The capacities of capital and technology as modes of binding freedom are in serious doubt. This is evidenced not only by the “20th century war” continuing now into another century with no sign of slowing. But in the unprecedented inequities generated by the requirements of global capital. Through regimes of accumulation the laser of capital has produced a concentration of the globes resources leaving an unprecedented number of people in the dark. 3 billion people, “Half the world”, live on less than 2 dollars a day, as a “proportional indicator” of capitals capacities for distribution it is quite shocking. One billion people do not have access to clean drinkable water. Perhaps, the poetic imagination is the most pragmatic means of addressing our social and political lives because it affords a means of comprehending this fragile globe, and its people, it introduces a politics of slowing down, of searching for: new modes of concern for the other, new promises for distributing risk and resources’, new words for rebinding freedom and hope, new spaces of empathy and ethics. Architecture’s principal cultural contribution is found in its ethical dimension, in its capacity to embody the human condition and frame a social contract with all of the mystery, nuance and imagination of life itself.


PhD Candidate, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Explosive Beauty: Art and Utopia in Émile Zola's novel Travail

“Aux époque troublées, la folie souffle, et la guillotine pourra encore moins qu'un idéal nouveau.” (Émile Zola, 1894.)

Although a work of fiction, Émile Zola's last novel Travail has largely appealed to circles that have sought to transform the real shape of the city. Read by both Tony Garnier and Le Corbusier, the trajectory of the ideal city described in the novel extends well into the architectural and urban visions of the twentieth century. This paper explores the urban plan of the ideal city described in Travail, drawing attention to the stark divide between the industrial sectors of the city and their underlying motivation of dominating nature and the residential sectors whose vibrant artistic culture, derived from the anarchist theories of Peter Kropotkin and others, are based on the suffusion of natural forces working through artistic impulses. This twofold characterization of nature is a determining trait of fin-de-siècle utopian fictions and planning strategies and is at the heart of much of art nouveau's strategy of imitation from nature: to, on the one hand, geometricize, fix and capture the essential structure of a plant's form, while, on the other, allowing nature to work through the artist and move his creativity.

GUESS, Alice

How to draw a crooked line. Or, A case for the sublime in contemporary architecture.

As appearance gets more controlled in the public realm, design ordinances, design review boards and committees slip a veil of perfected mediocrity over much new architecture. The domination of the design process and drawing production by digital media also makes it difficult to transgress the taught web of perfectly straight lines. In such a climate how does a practitioner find the courage to draw a crooked line and once drawn, translate such lines into challenging built work. Much like the compelling beauty of a crooked nose, or a scar, we need jolie-laide or pretty-ugly structures, to reassure us of our own humanity. Using examples of contemporary works with qualities of the sublime, this is an exploration on striving for imperfection.

GUIGNARD, Christophe

Partner of fabric | ch, studio for architecture and research, and Professor, University of Art and Design, Lausanne (ECAL)
Architecture ex-dimensionnelle

Au cours des vingt-cinq dernières années, nous avons été témoins et acteurs d'intenses transformations de notre environnement. La « révolution informatique » d'abord, mais aussi l'économie et la géopolitique, la recherche scientifique et médicale, nos capacités de transport et de communication ont changé notre perception subjective et objective du monde. Comme le signale avec justesse Michel Serres dans son livre Hominescence, nous sommes passés d'une société industrielle à une société de l'information, de la technique à la technologie, du mégajoule au bit d'information, d'un espace "dur" à un espace "doux", du quantitatif au qualitatif. Nous nous retrouvons ainsi à habiter un espace qualitatif empreint de technologies. Il s'agit ni plus ni moins d'un nouvel environnement où la notion de dimensions devient floue, où le « réel » se combine de mille façons au « virtuel », où de nouveaux enjeux architecturaux apparaissent. Appelons cet environnement l'espace contemporain et décrétons que l'architecture est devenue ex-dimensionnelle, en s'affranchissant d'une perception statique de l'espace et d'un temps continu. Cette architecture ex-dimensionnelle travaille la notion d'espace sur un spectre spatial étendu. Au même titre que la lumière visible dans le spectre lumineux, l'espace physique, ne représente désormais qu'une petite partie de l'étendue de l'espace contemporain qui varie entre visible et invisible, physique et virtuel, local et distribué. Ainsi, la poétique de l'architecte est aujourd'hui de concevoir et organiser les interférences qui se produisent entre ces différentes dimensions, entre lesquelles vit l'homme occidental.

HARROP, Patrick H.

Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture
Uncertain Projections: Autokinetic Tactics for Disrupting Architectural Fabrication.

In discussing the implications of modern industrial culture, David Pye makes a curious distinction between a workmanship of certainty and workmanship of risk. This suggests that craft excels when its process is forced to unfold a geometric map of engagement under aberrant material conditions. If we can consider traditional architectural geometry as a projective map of self-contained procedural movements through the malleable world then its complexity and authenticity of its fabrication would be privileged by the unique context of its material and even cultural conditions. Yet the overarching tendency of industrialization and technology has been to eliminate resistance and risk by restricting “making” to a process of prediction and the substrate (both virtual and real) to palette of homogeneous materials. This paper reflects on the critical re-integrating of risk and resistance in the realm of automated and digital fabrications. It will look at the contemporary paradox of fabrication and the opportunity of generative art, automata and its subversive (yet essential) relationship to the making of architecture.


Partner, Henriquez Partners Architects
The Ethical Challenges of a Practicing Architect

How do architects achieve a balance between the conflicting interests of the public, the client and their personal vision? It is this paper's contention that Architects have the ability to take a leadership role in the search for collective orientation within our communities, rather than act merely as consultants who service a consumer society. The serious social, political and environmental climate since 9/11 required many of us to examine more carefully the reality of the forces shaping our economic world order. From this new perspective, the larger questions now seem clear. Who do architects serve? Who do we represent? What type of work will we do? These are not questions of ability, but of ethics. This paper will use selected recent projects by Henriquez Partners as case studies to explore the issues confronted and the choices practicing architects must make when challenging convention. Recent work on several projects in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver will be presented, tracing Henriquez Partners' efforts to move toward an architecture that is a poetic expression of social justice.

HEREDIA, Juan Manuel

PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Ethical-Poietics, Typicality and Tectonics: On Greek School Rationalism

The relation between ethics and poetics overlaps that between practice and making. Praxis as action subsumes poiesis as mediated ‘action.’ The first constitutes human inter-subjective ‘paramount reality,’ (Schutz and Luckman 1973), the second supports and recreates it. Yet ‘Praxis is not Poiesis‘ (Et. Nic. Z, 4; 1140a17). Any discussion regarding the reconciliation between ethics and poetics needs acknowledging this original and asymmetrical condition. Moreover ‘the guide for the measures that lie at the heart of techné [poiesis] is the typicality of praxis itself, commonly called ‘use’’ (Carl 2000). This paper examines a set of remarkable public and ‘utilitarian’ buildings made in early twentieth-century Greece, that through sensible attention to the typicality of praxis, and with techno-poietical command, reinvented their cultural milieu with ethical strength. Whether simply described as ‘rationalism’ and more generously as ‘critical regionalism,’ Greece’s 1930’s school building program has been more adequately portrayed as a moment ‘leading to a poetics of identification between typology and construction’ (Giacumacatos 1999). Ethical-poietics out of typicality and tectonics.

JEMTRUD, Michael, Katsuhiko Muramoto, Danielle WILEY

Michael Jemtrud
Assistant Professor, Carleton University School of Architecture

Katsuhiko Muramoto
Associate Professor, Penn State University, Department of Architecture

Danielle Wiley
PhD Candidate, Carleton University, Cultural Mediation

Defining the Digital Mediated Collaborative Environment: A Participatory Design Studio Between Carleton University and Pennsylvania State University

The theoretical and intentional underpinnings of the proposed third year design studio recognizes and attempts to identify characteristics of the biased nature of electronic modes of making and seeing but asks the question as to what is possible only in the network driven digital realm rather than lament on what is presumably lost from location-based collaboration. It provisionally accepts the seemingly enhanced features of a digital mediated environment such as a more thorough integrative mode, increased interactivity and responsiveness, and greater immersion in the process. However, it begs the question of what participation is over and above mere task-based collaboration and how is it that the technology enables a richer mode of creative activity. The focus of investigation concerns the choreography of digitally mediated technologies in “staging” the spatial and temporal conditions of possibility that enable a dynamic interplay between technological mediation and the embodied reality of making. Notions of the imagination, embodied reality, digital modes of representation, and ethical issues of “working together" will be discussed in relation to the results of the design studio.


Professor, Parsons The New School for Design, Product Design
Speak, Stone: Geometries of Rhetoric in a Late Quattrocento Façade

Through the façade of the ducal palace of Urbino, this paper examines the role of architectural ornament as a vehicle for mediating private and public identity. Constructed within a primarily oral culture, in which the arts of memory were commonplace among patrons and artists, the articulation of the façade reveals as much about Duke Federico da Montefeltro’s unique approach to governance as his interest in history and innovative architecture. Instead of building his palace as a hermetic fortress, as did many of his contemporaries, the military captain and his architects conceived a structure that seemed, in the words of Baldassare Castiglione, “not a palace but a city in the form of a palace.” The implied convergence of the civic and domestic realms is not exaggerated: Urbino’s citizens enjoyed a liberal access to the ducal palace uncommon for its time. This open engagement is memorialized at the entrance court of the Urbino palace, where seventy-two stone tablets were set into the back of a continuous stone bench that wraps the base of the façade. Executed by Ambrogio Barrocci da Milano, the tablets were carved in relief to represent war machines, hydraulic turbines and various military and architectural emblems from the sketchbooks of court architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini. The placement of these images in the public forecourt demonstrates the transparency between the duke’s endeavors and their direct influence on the well-being of Urbino and its citizens, since mechanisms of architectural construction and destruction represented the source and investment of Federico’s wealth. By embedding these images within the palace façade, the duke and his architect offered citizens a palpable reminder of the interdependence of the House of Montefeltro and the city and lands of Urbino. Why seventy-two tablets? This paper will offer speculations.

PhD Candidate, York University and Ryerson University, Joint Graduate Programme in Communication and Culture
Life 'as it is': A Critical Renovation of the Architectural Project

The focus of my paper is the idea of the architectural project in the Avant-garde of the early 20th century. With specific reference to contrasting practices of production in Surrealist and Constructivist poetics, I suggest that there is embedded within a modern embrace of technology an appeal to more complex ethical and poetic dimensions of the project based on the measure of life 'as it is.' (Vertov) The existential measure of life has the effect of delimiting a transformed time and space of the architectural project in which the destructive nihilism of utopian temporality inherent in technological production is subverted to reconcile the transformative imagining of a different future with the remembrance of the ground of reality through a discourse of images.


PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh, School of Arts, Culture and Environment
Bridging Ethics and Poetics in the Design Studio

This paper will discuss the relationship between poesis (making) and praxis (doing) in architecture and will explore the potential of praxis as a bridge between ethics and poetics in the context of architectural design education. For this, I will exploit the example that Aristotle himself gives to distinguish poesis, as the building of a house, from praxis, as the playing of the flute. Emphasizing on the contradictions that this example brings forth, I will point out the ‘practical’ and mundane implications of building a house, on the one hand, and the ‘poetic’ and rather artistic character of playing the flute, on the other. Returning to the call for reconciliation, I will utilize the contradictions of Aristotle’s example to argue that a possible way to bridge ethics and poetics is by reappraising the everyday, mundane and practical aspect of creation, which in terms of education is being tacitly learned and taught in the design studio. The proposed view of seeing architectural design education as praxis should not be confused with the traditional request for ready-to-work practitioners, or any techno-romantic vision of mere progress, efficiency or effectiveness. On the contrary, the bridge that reconciles ethics with the making of poetic architecture, is built upon the primary action of ‘simply’ doing it

KUNZE, Donald

Professor of Architecture and Integrative Arts, Penn State, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
The Natural Attitude

'The Natural Attitude' (the world seen from a neutral point of view) might be traced to Jean le Rond d'Alembert's controversial contribution to the fields of mathematics and gambling, the 'Martingale theory' - the notion that past performance can affect the future outcome of some random activity, such as tossing a coin. This seemingly harmless but fallacious view of stochastic processes nonetheless reveals a peculiar aspect of modern and post-modern attitudes towards the 'relation of architecture to philosophy', namely, the role of the point-of-view. The Natural Attitude's manipulation of point of view is in fact a theory of topics that can subvert philosophical positions to create momentary economies out of concepts, phrases, techniques, and favoured objects of concern. The result is the death of discourse, the imposition of a historicism that resists being characterized as such, and an ultimately projective mental logic. Breaking the spell of the Natural Attitude requires a restoration of the role of contingency at all levels of architectural critique. This can be accomplished by employing the Lacanian idea of the 'matheme' as a 'procedural fiction' that works as a temporary scaffolding around a theoretical structure. This matheme combines the notions of the voice, topological suture, interpolation (summation/condensation) and interpellation (indication/mandate) within a 'matrix of the uncanny' to restore the beautiful to the true.

LAGUEUX, Maurice

Professeur, Université de Montréal, Département de philosophie
Y a-t-il une problématique éthique propre à l’architecture?

La question éthique qui se pose à l’architecture est fort différente de celle qui se pose aux scientifiques, par exemple aux biologistes. Ceux-ci peuvent laisser à d’autres, plus compétents en la matière, le soin de répondre aux problèmes éthiques qu’engendre leur pratique; ils n’en seront pas moins considérés comme des biologistes de génie pour autant. On ne saurait en dire autant des architectes qui se diraient incapables de résoudre les problèmes éthiques engendrés par leur pratique. L’architecte doit apporter une solution esthétiquement satisfaisante aux problèmes éthiques reliés aux lieux qu’il destine à l’exercice de diverses activités. Les théoriciens de l’art étant de plus en plus enclins à souligner l’importance des dimensions éthiques de l’art, on devra aussi se demander si les artistes qui pratiquent la littérature, les arts visuels ou les arts de la scène se trouvent, de ce point de vue dans une situation analogue à celle des architectes.


PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
Act like an architect

All acts of architects involve a conflict of ethics. While glaringly evident in contemporary practice, this is by no means a recent affliction. The earliest architect figures from myth and legend are infamous transgressors: Daedalus, Prometheus, Epeius and Trophonius, to name a few. Like the cunning slaves of Roman comedy (repeatedly named as architectus by Plautus), these architect figures operate with mixed motives, persuade through trickery and deceit, and enable transformation through their acts and poetic creations. If architectural acts are fundamentally fraught with a compromise of ethics, is not an argument for reconciliation moot? Drawing on the set of devious architectural figures (listed above), my paper poses this question and intends to draw out an argument, not for reconciliation, but regarding the dramatic and shifty performance of consilia – ‘of calling one’s wits to counsel’.

LATEK, Irena

Assistant Professor, Université de Montréal, Faculté de l’aménagement
Passages, déplacements et flâneries autour du Mémorial Walter Benjamin

Ce travail expérimente l'usage des media propres à l'oeuvre audiovisuelle en tant que support d'un essais critique sur l'art et l'architecture. Son objet est le Mémorial Walter Benjamin à Portbou par Dani Karavan. Nous proposons de présenter la totalité de la vidéo numérique (20min) avec une très courte introduction. Cette présentation s'adresse aux deux thèmes : «Usages de l'histoire en design et/ou en pédagogie » et «Habiter l'espace virtuel» Walter Benjamin est mort en 1940 à Portbou, une petite ville en Catalogne du Nord. Chassé de Paris par les nazis, il traversa à pied la frontière franco-espagnole pour prendre le bateau vers New York. Arrêté par les franquistes et enfermé dans un hôtel, il s'y donne la mort la nuit du 26 septembre. D'abord mis dans une tombe du cimetière de Portbou, son corps a été déposé à la fin de la guerre dans une fosse commune. Le Mémorial Walter Benjamin fut réalisé par Dani Karavan et inauguré en 1994. Notre film pose un regard sur l'œuvre de Karavan à travers le prisme des écrits de Benjamin. Le film déplace cette œuvre dans le territoire intellectuel de la grande ville et la confronte aux questions de l'art à l'époque de la reproductibilité technique. Il se développe selon quatre axes d'interprétation : analogies, grande ville, rituel, Land Art.


Assistant Professor, Drury University, Hammons School of Architecture
Form Follows Fiction: Pedagogy and the stories of Architecture

This paper will suggest and explore the possible use of fiction and story-telling by students in architectural history classes. Can the students' creative imagination serve as a stimulus and tool for the better understanding and, ultimately, the better use of the past, as they participate and act in the present? Why should the facts that fiction is bound to the character of those who create it, and that character is in turn bound to ethics, inform the teaching of architectural history? How does the meeting space of the inevitably subjective worlds which the students (re)create and (re)tell become a true place of (and for) architecture?


PhD Candidate, Université de Montréal, Faculté de l’aménagement
Actions in indeterminability: exploring the possibilities of temporary architecture

Temporary constructions reside in a grey area within Architecture. By their nature, they dispute the dominant role of Architecture as lasting and providing permanent solutions. Temporary constructions call for a belief in alternative possibilities; they have the potential to act upon the configuration of durable architecture and upon our apprehension of public space. In the current context, in which social, economic, ecological, or broadly, ethical impacts of large scale developments are frequently under question, small scale temporary architecture has the liberty to explore and test these larger themes through direct engagement with their site and their audience. As a design method in which provocative and generative ideas take the place of problem solving and completed solutions, temporary architecture is a different way of thinking about Architecture and is about finding responsible answers to urban interventions, teaching methods and to actively participate in unveiling inderterminability. The argument proposed in this paper will be supported by projects such as the ScrapHouse by Public Architecture in San Francisco, fauFILade, a winning entry to the Paysages Éphémères competition on Mont-Royal avenue and experiments conducted at the University of Montreal.

LIVESY, Graham

Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Faculty of Environmental Design
The Gardener as a Modernist Urban Figure

Urban gardens have been found in cities since ancient times, typically, as private spaces associated with a house or palace. Gardens would become the basis for broader urban park systems that developed in the nineteenth century. For example, Paris is enhanced by its former royal gardens and forests which were variously made public by the mid-nineteenth century. With the emergence of new urban models in the twentieth century, such as Ebeneezer Howard’s Garden City (1898), Le Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine (1922) and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City (1934-58), we see the advent of radical new efforts to merge nature (the country) and the city. Out of these comes the urban gardener (or farmer) as a quasi-public figure engaged in an activity that connected the individual with nature, and provided a leisure time activity that had moral and practical importance. Consequently the dense, vibrant, and largely hard environments inhabited by the boulevardier and flâneur, are augmented or replaced with dispersed, low intensity, soft environments informed by agrarian models. This paper will examine historically the figure of the urban gardener as it emerged during the first half of the twentieth century in association with modernist models of the city.

MANDOUL, Thierry

Enseignant titulaire d'histoire et de culture architecturales, École d’architecture de Paris-Malaquais
Au-delà de la forme

Il arrive aujourd'hui que des architectes concevant la transformation d'un lieu soient amenés à refuser pour des raisons éthiques et esthétiques toute projection de forme nouvelle. Dans de telles situations, les architectes ne croient plus à leur pouvoir de modernisation par la forme. Le projet devient l'expression d'une résistance au changement ou de son absence. Il s'agit ainsi d'agir de manière responsable vis-à-vis de la société et des générations futures, en refusant la tâche qui incombe habituellement aux architectes celle de transformer physiquement l'environnement. Cette responsabilité repose sur la révélation d'un monde existant, la valorisation du présent, l'affirmation de la vie et la reconnaissance de l'expression d'un art du quotidien produisant sa propre beauté. Peut-on alors encore parler de projet architectural ? De telles démarches renvoient aux fondements même de l'architecture et obligent à réévaluer et débattre de la définition de cet art. Il s'agira dans cette communication d'appréhender, comprendre et critiquer ces nouvelles pratiques projectuelle dans l'architecture contemporaine et dans ses développements dialectiques avec l'art, les sciences sociales, la psychologie, la philosophie et la politique.

MCCANN, Rachel

Associate Professor, Mississippi State University, College of Architecture, Art + Design
Wild Beauty: A Sensuous Aesthetic of Architecture

The modern problem of aesthetic irresponsibility is a problem of rupture. If we recuperate the territory below the subject-object divide as Merleau-Ponty has done in the Flesh, we find that the same urge that calls us to beauty also calls us to kinship with the larger earth. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty’s last works augmented by ecophilosophers David Abram and Steven Ross, the proposed paper examines the architectural implications of an ontology that replaces subject, object, and aesthetics with perceiver, perceived, and the cooperative act of the unfolding phenomenon. In the Flesh, the shared materiality and spatiality of perceiver and perceived forms the common ground for perceptual unfolding, the foundation for deep kinship (a principal facet of which is an ethic of care), a fascination with the sensuous world’s wild being, and a compulsion to express our intertwinement with it. Architecture that celebrates our immersion within the sensuous and spatial world embodies ethical beauty.

MCEWEN, Indra Kagis

Adjunct Professor, Concordia University, Department of Art History
World Heritage, Urbino

In 1998 UNESCO named the hill town of Urbino in east-central Italy a world heritage site. “A pinnacle of renaissance art and architecture, in perfect harmony both with its natural setting and with its medieval context,” reads the UNESCO citation posted on a wall at the foot of the ducal palace at the city centre. In June of 1468 Federico da Montefeltro, whose monument Urbino is, wrote a famous letter engaging Luciano Laurana as architect of the “beautiful and worthy residence” he had decided to build – the palace that would eventually define the world-heritage city. “The greatest of the virtu` prized by both ancients and moderns is the virtu` of architecture,” wrote Federico in the preamble of this document. The perfect beauty that underwrote the UNESCO nomination and the supreme virtu` that Federico da Montefeltro claimed for architecture will form the basis for a critical examination of this 15th-century intersection of poetics and ethics.


Associate Professor, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia
Thematizing Strata: Poetic evidence of ethical stances in the work of Rogelio Salmona

In 1999 Rogelio Salmona finished the building of postgraduate studies at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. In it Salmona reinterpreted the principles proposed through several of his most recognized buildings of the 60's and 70's. With them, Salmona rejected the separation of the public and private spaces of the city and defined the limits of individual inhabitation by extending them into the public domain and by incorporating the topography of the land and the city into the space of the individual dwelling, thus arguing for their reciprocity. In the case of the building at the campus of the National University, a different strategy is used to relate and define public and private spaces: The thematization of strata. As in the principles used by Adolf Loos to distribute and organize the individual spaces and functions of his houses, or as in Le Corbusier's five points of architecture, Salmona reworks the relationship between the earth and the sky to conceive a structure of human inhabitation in consonance with their reciprocity. This paper describes the building, recognizes Salmona's process of thematization, establishes an analogy between horizontal stratification and the definition of public and private realms, and proposes thematization as one of the ways of articulating between poetics and ethics.


Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture
Educating the Ethical Practitioner

The gap between professional practice and architectural education continues to widen. The belief that architecture can be reduced to a skill set or solipsistic mediation only exacerbates the difference. Recognizing the limits of both positions, this paper will present a mediating statement on the role of architectural education that exists somewhere between the ethics of rhetorical tradition and the poetics of the personal imagination. In this way, one may rethink the possibilities of practice and education as reflexive action. The paper will be grounded within an imaginary conversation between a Franciscan monk, two ancient Greeks (one mythical, the other less so), and a contemporary French philosopher.


Lecturer, Clemson School of Architecture, Charleston Architecture Center
Silent Space

In Steen Eiler Rasmussen’s book Experiencing Architecture he asked the question whether architecture could be heard? Further he examined the poetic qualities of historical precedents and briefly commented on the banal acoustics of his contemporary world. His book was first published in 1959. Today in a culture dominated by auditory and visual noise perhaps the questions to be asked are what are qualities of silent space and of what value are they to architects? First, this paper will attempt to identify those qualities by examining a fairly recent built work - St. Petri Church in Klippan by Sigurd Lewerentz. Second, it will explore the ethical dimension of such qualities grounded in the notion that they invite a tender form of participation on both an individual and collective level. Further that such participation, imbued with meaning and beyond the constant barrage of information and commodity reception, is of great importance to the practice of contemporary architecture.

PARCELL, Stephen

Associate Professor, Dalhousie University School of Architecture
Architects Since Birth

Thomas Clifton's phenomenological analysis of music, Music as Heard (1983), concluded that music is based ultimately on the human experience of sound. This questions the prevalent Western premise that music starts with pitch intervals. Maurice Merleau-Ponty concluded in The Visible and the Invisible (1968) that depth is the first human dimension and that we engage the world ultimately as flesh. This questions the prevalent Western premise that form is primary. This paper studies these two philosophical writings and considers their implications for growing an alternate discipline (which may or may not be called "architecture") that is rooted in our engagement with substance and space rather than principles of form or properties of buildings. This would question the assumption that architecture is an esoteric discipline that begins at age twenty and is anticipated by an aptitude for drawing.


Assistant Professor, California Polytechnic University
An Architect’s Ethics: To Design the Shrine of the Book

In 1947 a Bedouin sheep-herder discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. Despite priceless value, a significant number of the scrolls were purchased for $250,000 through advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, June 1 1954. The new owner commissioned New York architect Armand Bartos and Austrian-American theorist Frederick Kiesler to design the Shrine of the Book built to house the scrolls in Jerusalem. The Shrine of the Book proved enormous opportunity to bring Kiesler’s life-long theories to built form. In this essay I will explore the challenges Kiesler and Bartos faced to build the Shrine of the Book. I will examine how a foreign architect’s seemingly dubious research bears on complex political, cultural, and ethical issues relevant to create structure, form, and symbol—central to a people, religion, and nation. I will analyze how an architect negotiates plans amidst political and cultural strife to achieve what must appear a masterpiece of design.


Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Architecture
Hannes Meyer: Connecting Poetics and Ethics

Hannes Meyer (1889-1954) was called an "anti-aesthetic functionalist" in 1932 and a "posthumanist architect" in 1992. These statements show that he is criticized from both ends - poetics as well as ethics - throughout the 20th century. I want to elaborate in my paper how these both ends are connected in Meyer's statement “art is composition. life is function” of 1928. Reading this phrase as a rule of three, one can maintain that art relates to life in the same way as composition to function. While the relation `art versus life' has often been interpreted, I will focus on `composition versus function'. Composition requires elements that can be related to one another to compose a whole. But this is also true for the notion of function, traceable in the sciences as well as in architectural texts since the 18th century. However, function additionally implies an inherent idea of activity, and it is this idea that differentiates composition from function. Meyer describes the difference between composition and function as an outer design procedure in contrast to an inner one: composition needs a composer while function works out of itself. Life's reactions on biological, technical and social aspects produce form. Vice versa, Meyer's phrase states that a function-created form speaks about human life, while a composition-created form only speaks about the artist.


Professeur, Université du Québec à Montréal, École de design
Éthique et architecture chez Wittgenstein

Lorsqu’en 1929 il accepte l’invitation de l’Heretics Society de Cambridge à venir prononcer une conférence sur l’éthique, le philosophe autrichien Ludwig Wittgenstein vient d’achever la construction d’une maison pour sa sœur à Vienne. Bien qu’il ne fasse pas mention d’architecture dans cette conférence, il précise au tout début qu’il emploie le terme d’Éthique « dans un sens un peu large qui inclut ce que je tiens pour la partie la plus essentielle de ce qu’on appelle généralement l’Esthétique ». À partir d’exemples, il fait la distinction entre l’usage des expressions éthiques dans un sens relatif et l’usage dans un sens absolu. Je chercherai à montrer comment cette distinction peut nous être utile en design et en architecture.

ROQUET, Nicholas

PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
The Ethics of Imitation

Modern historiography has dealt harshly with nineteenth-century revivalist architecture, condemning its lack of material truth and historical authenticity. John Summerson famously argued that Victorian architecture failed on its own terms, that is, as a “new style” for the age. In turn, more recent histories have sought to rehabilitate the Gothic Revival by underplaying its theatricality, and emphasizing instead its concern for social realism and moral reform. But is “authenticity” necessarily an appropriate category by which to judge buildings such as Fonthill Abbey or Cardiff Castle? This paper will examine the fascination which the album of Villard de Honnecourt exerted on mid-nineteenth-century medievalists, and in particular on British architect William Burges (1827-1881). Burges based his public persona on the historical figure of Villard, adopting his script, his graphic style, and on occasion his dress. Burges’s architecture can likewise be read as a fictional projection, onto nineteenth-century Britain, of what Villard would have built. For all its seeming eccentricity, Burges’s identification with Villard raises the question of architecture’s ability to create “counterfactuals”, and of fiction’s purpose in the present world.


PhD Candidate, McGill University School of Architecture
An Experiential Tale of Two Buildings by Rogelio Salmona

The essay elaborates on two places built upon diverse sites: the “Casa de Huespedes of Colombia” (1982), peripheral to the Caribbean Cartagena de Indias, and the “Humanidades” pavilion (1996-2000) at U.Nacional, inner-city Bogotá. Though specific to their respective historicized landscapes, these buildings, I argue, articulate Ethic and poetic concerns, within and beyond the traditions of architecture, operating at local and global contemporary scales. Through visits to these places, words from their architect, and archival analysis, the text argues on the task of place delimitation as poetic construct: a metaphorical re-creative making which goes beyond conventional assumptions on “context” responsiveness. Salmona’s transformation of these sites into dwelling places, I stress, is ethically engaged in the presentation of meaningful experiential settings for human existence; the making of utopia.

SANDSTRA, Theodore

Architect, Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart
Poet and/or Technician: The Architect as Environmental Activist

Architects must find an ethical response to the challenge of limited natural resources and must search for a meaningful relationship with the world around us. The dissected vision of nature modern science pursues limits our potential relationship to the natural work around us. Is it possible for architects to act to change society's perception of nature and perhaps, through that, enable dwelling with the natural world? A critical debate thus begins: can architecture present visions of modern humanity dwelling within a fractured ecology and culturally and economically disputed definitions of nature. Architects cannot help to resolve the environmental crisis by merely applying technological solutions. They must use their role as providers of shelter to address the larger question of humanity's relationship to nature. The ethical tasks described above set before the architect the possibility of yielding poetic space for the non-human and human to co-exist. The paradoxes inherent in this search are explored through brief reviews of three past and current projects of Behnisch Architekten: Institute for Forestry Research, Wageningen, NL; the Genzyme Center, Cambridge, MA; and Harvard's Allston Science Complex.


Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture
Freud at the Dining Table—an Architectural Act, Part II, Act V, Scene 5

“Now fills the air so many a haunting shape,
That no one knows how best he may escape.”
(Faust, used by Freud as the motto for his book, The Psychopathology of Everyday life, 1901.)

SHE: Collected the bones of everything she ate for seven years.
HE: Collected over 2000 antiquities.
SHE: Carefully prepared the bones and assembled them in boxes.
HE: Carefully arranged his collection within only two rooms - The Consulting Room and Study.
SHE: Is fascinated with the things we keep around us, and observes how their arrangement reveals subtle and profound aspects of our very being.
HE: Described the student of hysteria as ”an explorer discovering the remains of an abandoned city, with walls and columns and tablets covered with half-effaced inscriptions; he may dig them up and clean them, and then with luck the stones speak.”
SHE: Constructs a dining table from part of her collection, and invites him to dinner… Influence of Freud's thought on the moral psyche and conduct of contemporary culture is without question. "Freud at the Dining Table" proposes a poetic exchange of personal obsessions as a means to probe how we mentally and physically construct our thoughts.

TO, Jacqueline

PhD Candidate, University of Toronto, Graduate Department of Philosophy
The New Urban Lite

High-minded critics love to hate New Urbanism. And until recently, it's been an easy target. All bunting, flower boxes and neighborhood lanes, new urban developments share an aesthetic that the likes of Herbert Muschamp and Rem Koolhaas refuse to swallow. Yet, what the architectural establishment hates, the public appears to love. For all the thrashing that's gone on in the opinion-making press, New Urbanism and its traditionalist mores have gone mainstream. Call it sprawl with difference - or at least, with a sidewalk. Now twenty-five years after the first New Urban cri du coeur, the same developers who only a generation ago paved through green belts and made the bungalow North America's prototypical exurban form, are reaching for pattern books and promising homebuyers newly livable community. Welcome to New Urbanism Lite -- but as the movement becomes North America and the UK's 'house style', two questions remain: will a return to pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods yield the kind of civic dividend its champions insist it can pay? Or will today's clapboard villages soon become a forgotten annex in an otherwise restless city?


Associate Professor, Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism
In the darkness of the lived moments: 1871 Paris Communes, barricade fighting and architectural experience in Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project

Conceived in Paris in 1927 and still in progress when Benjamin fled the occupation of the capital in 1940, the text that has come down to us as The Arcades Project is in no sense a finished work. Nevertheless, it contains Benjamin's vision of architecture, in which we find the quintessence of his concept of experience. According to The Arcades Project, architecture inheres in the darkness of the lived moments, belonging to the dream consciousness of the collective; in this sense, architecture is the most important testimony to the latent `mithology' of a society. Benjamin's aim is to read the character of the nineteenth century in the physiognomy of its architecture, but the range of the word architecture is enlarged if we consider Convolute E [Haussmanization, Barricade Fighting] in which he discusses Paris Communes taking into account that tragic inhabitants' action to characterize the urban experience of modernity.

WEST, Mark

Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture

The first question to ask of sustainability is “what do you want to sustain?” Looking at sustainable architecture today it seems that beneath its customary goals there is a strong commitment to sustaining a level of comfort and luxury to which we have become accustomed. I am interested in an architecture that does not confuse comfort with pleasure and that is capable of intensifying pleasure, not so much in the face of reduced resources, but through reduced consumption itself -- an architecture that seeks pleasure through the satisfactions of what physical life requires rather than through the excesses of luxury and their endless elaborations. This paper presents various methods of reducing the amount of material consumed in construction. These methods follow a yielding approach where the urgencies of the materials themselves uncover the plastic figure of their own stability in space. These methods suggest a larger “aesthetics of necessity”, where the satisfaction of fundamental physical requirements offers an aesthetic figure to our actions in the world.

ZOU, Hui

Assistant Professor, University of Florida, School of Architecture
The Garden of Forking Paths: Fiction, Reality and Hermeneutics in Architecture

This research begins by analyzing Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges’ fictional works about China while searching for the architectural realities in their works. It then progresses to a discussion about two European-Chinese garden encounters in the late eighteenth century demonstrating the fiction-reality relationship in mystic garden existence. With the revealed historical context, this research introduces the metaphoric approach of architectural fiction as a poetic resistance against the prevalent formalism of Chinese urbanism. Finally, it extends the fiction-reality consideration into a hermeneutic pedagogy for enhancing students’ cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective in their studio works.