Architecture + Philosophy research seminar, ResArc, Sweden: Dr Hélène Frichot, Critical Studies in Architecture, KTH Stockholm

Month: August, 2013

Ali Visits Uncle Aldo

by bradyburroughs

front cover

Meet Ali. Ali is 7 years old and has an Uncle Aldo who is a famous architect. Ali set off to visit Uncle Aldo in his row house in Bergamo, Italy, but upon arrival, Ali found that a Swedish-American PhD student had occupied the unit and was illegally renovating it, in the name of feminist architectural research! Uncle Aldo’s bull terrier was still wandering around outside the building, and would bark every time a paper airplane whizzed through the air, launched from the balcony of the gallery.

Past Glories in a New Light. On the Making of Swedish 20th Century Modern Furniture Classics

by annawahloo

Walk of Fame - Lamino_0143

This conceptual coloring in-book is a result from the ResArc PhD-course Philosophies – Architecture in Effect that I participated in spring 2013 at KTH, Stockholm. I have chosen own conceptual clusters along the course. Some of them will be a start or a contribution to a chapter in my thesis. Each cluster, in total six, discusses a question, raises an issue or is a comment to the modern classic. It is full of loose strings and questions that will be further explored.

Hidden spaces

by obannova


I wonder where people hide and why do they do it? How different those hidden places would be in a big city and in the middle of nowhere? When we hide do we create or destroy? I try to investigate these questions in course of my research and see if there are issues that design or architecture can address.

It is a common impression that population density creates social, political, health and economic problems. But does opposition to the density necessarily solves those problems? Hectic urban environment offers certain convenience to people living there and as a result pushes its edges further consuming more land, resources, and people. Stress that comes along with urban growth and density requires higher level of adaptation from people living there to its conditions and not everybody can adapt to it or fight it. People start looking for places where to hide, catch a breath, refresh or recoup.

One of big cities phenomena is that in spite of the fact that a person living there is usually exposed to thousands around him he may live unrecognizable and unnoticed throughout whole life. That creates a perfectly hidden place for one who seeks it. My research is focused on extreme environments and habitability issues there. Psychological issues that people have to deal with there are similar in a very unique way to many that an urban habitant experience living in a very technologically advanced environment and surrounded by millions of others like him. Would those who come from these different environments even understand each other?


by obannova


It may seem that coexistence or harmony is opposition of struggle although coexistence does not necessarily happen with a perfect balance or it may change with time and new players entering the scene. If “the unit of survival is organism plus environment” as Gregory Bateson said, then there always should be found a way of living in the environment without severely alternating it even if the environment is brutal and makes people to struggle to survive. There should be a way to look at habitation unit not like a protective barrier but as part of already existing system balancing between optimization of given tools and requirements and admitting conditions for environment to continue its natural evolution.

When Zoe Sofia talks about “container” technologies (Sofia, 2000)and awareness of containers being part of processes and environments she looks at it from different perspectives and argues passiveness of containers. She argued that “neglect of containers and containment functions is only the result of anti-maternal bias in western thought, but is encouraged by the unobtrusiveness of containers, traces of whose productive roles are not necessarily evident in the final product”.

Plato argues in Timaeus: “we should never speak as if any of the things we suppose we can indicate by pointing and using expression ‘this thing’ have any permanent reality: for they have no stability and elude the designation ‘this’ or ‘that’…” (Plato, 1965)  – that means that instead of forcing transformations that we would think are “good” we may try to “coexisting” and find layers of transformation where our needs don not contradict natural way of environmental evolution. If there were three distinct realities as “being, space and becoming” architect’s major task may be formulated as finding balance between them that would last for some time and conditions for that balance to happen.

Edges of Xtreme

by obannova

edge title

I put these thoughts here searching for life elements that may affect living environment pushing it towards the edge of well-being. I also hope that this work may help me to understand how a place or situation becomes critical for people and what can be done to make the situation if not fully acceptable but at least less intimidating or menacing to people who have to deal with it. These edges are not equal by any meaning with some being quite obvious while others may be easily argued. In any case they worth to investigate and consider.


by evaminoura


Pedestrian arrivals: a phenomenological study of spatiality and walking in urban settings

by kajsakorner


I am trying to find a way to capture the intangible of tangible. The visible made invisible. The neglected. Maybe the unwanted and even undesirable. The objectionable.  Sometimes obnoxious. The abandoned and the ignored. The overlooked and well known. The common. The public. The reciprocal and shared. There has to be conflicts and dissensus. Clashing opinions. Contradictions and variations. Nuances. Embodied experiences. It most definitely will be a subjective matter. A subjective matter of walking.

Theory in the Making

by katja2013


Right from the start of the PhD course ‘Philosophies’ at the KTH in Stockholm I deliberately wanted to experiment with ‘applying’ the selected theory readings from the philosophies course to my PhD case study, the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing (CCTV) by Rem Koolhaas. This making theory operational, or as Jane Rendell puts it; a self-reflexive mode of theoretical work (as a tool); as a chance not only to reflect on existing conditions, but also to imagine something different, to transform rather than to describe (text 2 in this booklet), is relevant only when situated, and partial as Donna Haraway explains. Objectivity and the possibility to make rational knowledge claims should be based on partial perspective, location, positioning, situating and the activation of the object. The objectivity in partial perspective ‘situated knowledge’ is about being transparent and clear about ones position (text 4).

The questions, observations and associations that emerged out of this combination of specific theory and my project, where guided by my main PhD research question. How can, while engaging with the paradoxical and complex realities of the modern everyday, through different techniques of estrangement (micro-politics), architecture as unique spatial and aesthetic knowledge, in its presence (autonomy) and representation, play a role in transforming reality? How can through techniques of estrangement a questioning, unfinishedness/ imperfection, a situated freedom, or as Harraway calls it the partial perspective, be enacted in a project.


Sandra Kopljar Great Expectations

by sandra695



by sepidehkarami


Franz Kafka writes, “A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us”. Foucault considers knowledge “not for knowing” but “for cutting”. In both quotes, the action, the move and consequently ‘change’ and ‘revolution’ is the fundamental message. What matters is not the theory or knowledge itself but what it can do. In fact the knowledge or theory is built while operating, affecting or changing; its credibility and reliability is hinged to its performative affects.  Hence the “cut” and the “stroke” suggest how theory should perform within the reality outside, in everyday life, in politics and in history, in time and space. Theory should be the ax to break down the frozen and solidified routines to let the sea overflow, spill and become “practice” in each of its stroke. Theory is not separable from practice if it is supposed to be applied and become effective.

The following collection is produced in three different modules of PhD Philosophy course at KTH. In each text that is basically a reflection on the collection of readers in different conceptual clusters, I have tried to keep close to my own thematic research on one hand and investigate it in close relation to practice of architecture on the other. It has been an effort to see how each conceptual cluster could be applied in practice and what are the possibilities and potentials for opening up new concepts while being put to work. I have tried to test the relation of each theoretical discussion to reality, through, movie, literature and architecture. As my own research interest is summed up under the title of “revolution”, my goal has been more or less to study each cluster through the lens of ‘change’ and ‘revolution’. It’s why the ‘act’ itself becomes the fundamental search for me in theory; the small and tiny acts, which are capable of making changes and revolutionizing our routines and what we are immersed in without being aware of.