Unorthodox: Architecture as Paradigm

Thu, Sep 26    6:30pm

A lecture by Teresa Stoppani.

What happens when architecture is dismantled and questioned, broken beyond a repair that nobody wants to perform anymore, so atomised that it calls for a reinvention of its categories and practices? When the history, the representation, the form, the design of architecture are “broken”, its relationship with nature is finally exposed and its edifice collapsed, it is perhaps time to rethink architecture in different terms. In Unorthodox Ways I argue that architecture and its processes can be better understood by drawing categories from disciplines that exceed the architectural and the urban, proposing them as unorthodox analytic techniques to decipher contemporary spatial complexity. In this session I will reconsider paradigm (Greek paradèigma, ‘example, exemplar’) as an action and relation word that contains within itself the possibility of variation and movement. As an intellectual operation, paradigm works towards the production of a non-dialectical form of knowledge, which does not aim to achieve the universal and derive principles (rules) from it. I will argue that the architectural project performs in the city the relational operation of the paradigm, producing a form of knowledge that dismisses oppositions and resolutions.

Teresa Stoppani is an architect and architectural theorist, and lectures in History and Theory Studies at the Architectural Association in London. She has taught architectural design and theory at IUAV University of Venice, at UT Sydney, RMIT Melbourne, and at several universities in the United Kingdom. Her writings focus on the relationship between architectural theory and the design process in the urban environment, and on the influence of other spatial and critical practices on the specifically architectural. She is the author of Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice (Routledge 2010) and of Unorthodox Ways to Think the City (Routledge 2018) and co-editor of This Thing Called Theory (Routledge 2016). She is an editor of The Journal of Architecture (RIBA/Routledge), and the instigator and founder of the independent research collective ThisThingCalledTheory, an international group that aims to investigate and redefine the role of theory in architecture, and to practice it collectively and in different forms.

Free and open to the public.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

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