Thinking, practice, and the production of social space, by Jacob Voorthuis

Philosophy should surely be concerned with the analysis and critique of questions regarding any aspect of any discipline. Philosophy in architecture might then concern itself with the analysis and critique of questions concerning architecture as a human product and design as an aspect of human endeavour. Architecture’s engagement with theory and practice form the subject of philosophical discourse; philosophy asks questions, submitting every theory and any instance of practice to scrutiny. As Alain Badiou pointed out: philosophy is the thinking of theory and practice (Badiou, 2006). A question any philosopher teaching in a school of architecture might then wrestle with is: how do we usefully involve philosophy in teaching architecture and developing a research-based design ethos?
With the help of two case studies, Master Design Projects conducted over the last academic year, this paper will propose a discursive method in which students’ engagement with philosophy is made concrete, workable and above all useful within a studio setting. The discursive approach proposed here, of which the game rules will be elucidated and elaborated upon later on, makes possible a socially and architecturally relevant interaction between thinking and practice, allowing students to sharpen their theoretical stand with regard to the role of architectural design in society and to critique their design decisions within its framework.

Jacob Voorthuis

Harvard Citation Guide: Voorthuis, J. (2014) Thinking, practice, and the production of social space, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 19 March 2014, Available at: [Accessed: 01 June 2014].

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