Phenomenology as architectural praxis: two houses in East Anglia

Stara, Alexandra (2009) Phenomenology as architectural praxis: two houses in East Anglia. In: Architecture + phenomenology; 26-29 Jun 2009, Kyoto, Japan. (Unpublished)


Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in his Preface to the Phenomenology of Perception, reminds us that: �The world is not what I think, but what I live through�, at the same time as: �Because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning, and we cannot do or say anything without its acquiring a name in history�. These two dimensions of embodied experience, on one hand, and historically conditioned meaning on the other, have remained in varying degrees of tension and harmony at the heart of architectural making. Contemporary architecture faces a great challenge in the quest for a relevant, meaningful and ethical practice, at a time when the perceived division between dimensions of existence seems to be at its most extreme. Phenomenology and hermeneutics are gaining ground as an intellectual framework and sensibility for addressing and reconciling this division. This paper will discuss the work of two young British practices that represent a discernible trend in worldwide architecture, towards such an encompassing and conciliatory praxis. Lynch Architects and Dow Jones Architects have been working consistently within a phenomenological background since their formation, both within the last decade. Although they have different ways of engaging with site, program and technique � with focus alternating between the poetic potential of tectonics to the historicity of type and form � they share an understanding of their practice as poetic disclosure of space, making place for inhabitation and encounter, firmly grounded in the obscured yet enduring continuity of tradition. It is hoped that the discussion of recent architectural practice in the context of this conference, with reference to specific projects and central phenomenological themes, will bring forward the significance of phenomenology for contemporary architecture in an immediate and fruitful way.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page