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This book introduces architects to a philosopher, Immanuel Kant, whose work was constantly informed by a concern for the world as an evolving whole. According to Kant, in this interconnected and dynamic world, humans should act as mutually dependent and responsible subjects. Given his future-oriented and ethico-politically concerned thinking, Kant is a thinker who clearly speaks to architects. This introduction demonstrates how his ideas bear pertinently and creatively upon the world in which we live now and for which we should care thoughtfully. Kant grounded his enlightened vision of philosophy’s mission using an architectural metaphor: of the modest 'dwelling-house'. Far from constructing speculative 'castles in the sky' or vertiginous 'towers which reach to the heavens', he tells us that his humble aim is rather to build a 'secure home for ourselves', one which appropriately corresponds at once to the limited material resources available on our planet, and to our need for firm and solid principles to live by. This book also explores Kant's notions of cosmopolitics, which attempts to think politics from a global perspective by taking into account the geographical fact that the earth is a sphere with limited land mass and natural resources. Given the urgent topicality of sustainable development, these Kantian texts are of particular interest for architects of today. Students of architecture, who are necessarily trained in negotiating between theory and practice, gain much from considering Kant, whose critical project also consisted of testing and exploring the viability of ideas, so as to ascertain to what extent, and crucially, how ideas can have a constructive effect on the whole world, and on us as active agents therein.
From the mid-1960s onwards Michel Foucault has had a significant impact on diverse aspects of culture, knowledge and arts including architecture and its critical discourse. The implications for architecture have been wide-ranging. His archaeological and genealogical approaches to knowledge have transformed architectural history and theory, while his attitude to arts and aesthetics led to a renewed focus on the avant-garde. Prepared by an architect, this book offers an excellent entry point into the remarkable work of Michel Foucault, and provides a focused introduction suitable for architects, urban designers, and students of architecture. Foucault’s crucial juxtaposition of space, knowledge and power has unlocked novel spatial possibilities for thinking about design in architecture and urbanism. While the philosopher's ultimate attention on the issues of body and sexuality has defined our understanding of the possibilities and limits of human condition and its relation to architecture. The book concentrates on a number of historical and theoretical issues often addressed by Foucault that have been grouped under the themes of archaeology, enclosure, bodies, spatiality and aesthetics in order to examine and demonstrate their relevancy for architectural knowledge, its history and its practice.
Looking afresh at the implications of Jacques Derrida’s thinking for architecture, this book simplifies his ideas in a clear, concise way. Derrida‘s treatment of key philosophical texts has been labelled as "deconstruction," a term that resonates with architecture. Although his main focus is language, his thinking has been applied by architectural theorists widely. As well as a review of Derrida’s interaction with architecture, this book is also a careful consideration of the implications of his thinking, particularly on the way architecture is practiced.
Philosophy for Architects is an engaging and easy-to-grasp introduction to philosophical questions of interest to students of architectural theory. Topics include Aristotle's theories of "visual imagination" and their relevance to digital design, the problem of optical correction as explored by Plato, Hegel's theory of zeitgeist, and Kant's examinations of space and aesthetics, among others. Focusing primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy, it provides students with a wider perspective concerning philosophical problems that come up in contemporary architectural debates.
The philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) has influenced the design work of architects as diverse as Steven Holl and Peter Zumthor, as well as informing renowned schools of architectural theory, notably those around Dalibor Vesely at Cambridge, Kenneth Frampton, David Leatherbarrow and Alberto Pérez-Gómez in North America and Juhani Pallasmaa in Finland. Merleau-Ponty suggested that the value of people’s experience of the world gained through their immediate bodily engagement with it remains greater than the value of understanding gleaned through abstract mathematical, scientific or technological systems. This book summarizes what Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy has to offer specifically for architects. It locates architectural thinking in the context of his work, placing it in relation to themes such as space, movement, materiality and creativity, introduces key texts, helps decode difficult terms and provides quick reference for further reading.
Architects and designers are responsible for creating a built environment capable of enhancing certain values and undermining others. Thus this book examines the way in which the ethics of the built environment can be thought about and its connection to well being. Bringing together the reflections of an architectural theorist and a philosopher, this book is less concerned with absolutist understandings of the two components of ethics, a theory of `the good' and a theory of `the right', than with remaining open to multiple relations between ideas about the built environment, design practices and the plurality of kinds of human subjects (inhabitants, individuals and communities) accommodated by buildings and urban spaces. By way of opening up speculation on ethics and the built environment, the book calls into question the narrowness of some theory, thereby reinforcing hopes that the study of architecture and ethics can promote forms of activism and efforts aiming for improved living conditions, the meaningful and honest commemoration of historical events and urban renewal. Revisiting debates over famous architectural designs such as Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and New Urbanism's quest for community, the book establishes a conceptual and ethical framework for understanding these and other circumstances that have shaped or will shape our lives. By exploring the notion that architecture and design can, and possibly should, in their own right, make for a distinctive form of ethical investigation, this book encourages philosophers and architects, scholars and designers alike, to reconsider what they do as well as what they can do in the face of challenging times.
Informing the designs of architects as diverse as Peter Zumthor, Steven Holl, Hans Scharoun and Colin St. John Wilson, the work of Martin Heidegger has proved of great interest to architects and architectural theorists. The first introduction to Heidegger’s philosophy written specifically for architects and students of architecture introduces key themes in his thinking, which has proved highly influential among architects as well as architectural historians and theorists. This guide familiarizes readers with significant texts and helps to decodes terms as well as providing quick referencing for further reading. This concise introduction is ideal for students of architecture in design studio at all levels; students of architecture pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate courses in architectural theory; academics and interested architectural practitioners. Heidegger for Architects is the second book in the new Thinkers for Architects series.

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