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The connection between theories which challenge the status quo and the accepted wisdom of established architectural practice are explored. These are used as a basis to develop a critical spatial practice where the social production of space is key to understanding and creating new spaces of action.


Starting with the views of Tafuri; architecture is a battle between its artistic nature and the functional and technical requirements. These roles are always at odds (and as such, create divergent views on what architecture is. As such he saw architectural history (and thus our understanding) as an arena for contemporary debate. As such, this relates to the way in which Bernard Tschumi and Hannah Arendt establish (through the development of different theoretical approaches) the disconnect between the spaces that we imagine, design and build; in comparison to the way in which they are encountered.

Similarly, Ronald Barthes pursuit of “linguistic hedonism” by developing methods to liberate both the writer and reader to greater plurality of meaning as a method to facilitating creativity; is explored in a more figurative guise in the writing of Tschumi (Advertisements for Architecture 1978) and subsequently a number of his buildings (most influentially Parc de la Villette 1982-1998). In a similar theoretical connection, the way in which the Situationists explore the notion of “eventments” (happenings) which emerge from the illustrative tools that Guy Debord presents in his Pychogéographique de Paris (1957), share a theoretical lineage to George Bataille’s identification of language as an always compromised medium of exploring emancipation (and set about developing rules to destroy the inherent structure of discourse). This back and forth between different tools of cultural expression and spaces of identity (both internally and externally) provides an operational pivot to inform an evaluative oppositional theory on the use of space.

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