Toward an Architecture of Critical Inquiry

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This essay investigates the roots of a growing impass in contemporary architecture vis a vis the economic, technological, social and political developments of our advanced or late-capitalist society. It focuses upon architecture's apparently diminishing capacity to address our present human condition, yet argues that the problems responsible for the "crisis" of architectural thought and design in general have evolved as the result of historic processes, and therefore the impass can only partially be explained with the short-comings of modern architecture or the 'short sighted' attitude of the architects themselves. Nevertheless, it also argues that architecture, in spite of its now rather limited transformative capacity, should persistently attempt to reveal, rather than mask or otherwise escape, its fundamental relatedness to material processes; that is, to the modes of production and consumption on which social and political power relations are predicated. To be able to do so, and thus to foster a more liberating "form" of human environment, the profession needs first of all a strong political self consciousness, while aiming at a practice of critical inquiry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-34
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Architectural Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


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