paper on critical project

Abstract proposed for “research spaces”, 2004-2005

Gonçalo Furtado

“This paper debates the contemporary construction of what we have named in a recent book 'critical project'. That is to say, it proposes to reflect on the nature and the conditions of performance of design-based researches, developed in an oscillating space between theory and building.
The paper begins by identifying a certain hierarchy between construction, design, and theory that could have been working as a motor on the instrumentalization of the discipline ('simulacrum'). It concludes by proposing the possibility of a Critical Project that mediates theory and construction, and contemplates on the part that critical theory might assume in the design practice of post-modern architecture – a motor that permanently doubts prescriptions, that problematizes the projectual potential, and that secures the discipline’s auto-critical dynamic.
In order to achieve that, an overview of the 20th Century will be initially provided, highlighting the necessary shift from a Theory of 'prescription' to building practice to a dynamic self-criticism of the Architectural Institution itself. (A Narrative which could begin with the Modern complexities, in which Theory operated towards legitimizing a generic and totalitarian design and a constructive practice, which later lead to the post-modern disbelief and mistrust that, since the culture of criticism of the 60s, has questioned the purpose of the architectural practice by focusing on the conceptualization of the 'ways of inhabiting' that it inscribed.)
One will argue, that despite contemporary shapes, the Critical Project, autonomous or actualized through construction, must question the world of construction in which it moves, the physical expression of structures of power, the effects of negligent Modern and initial Post-Modern construction, the socio-economic results already described in the authority of the commission-client.
Today, it seems urgent to design those projects as disciplinary critical research-constructions – as ‘other’ speculations that resist to any type of totalization that inscribes marginalized perspectives, potentiating the cultural intervention capacity of the discipline.”

1 comment:

Tony Ward said...

Kia ora from New Zealand, Gonçarlo,

I found your blogsite through my Google Alerts for Critical Theory and Critical Pedagogy and thought I would write. I have not yet had time to look at all of the postings, but it looks very interesting. It reminded me of my early years as a young architect and lecturer in the UK when I knew the Archigram team - Cedric Price, Peter Cook, Warren Chalk etc.I taught at Portsmouth and in the Graduate School at the AA for a while in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

From there I went on to teach in the US (Berkeley) and eventually New Zealand (Auckland) where I did my PhD in Architectural Education and critical Theory/Critical Pedagogy. For the last 30 years I have been involved in education in developing a form of critical praxis that I thought might interest you.I thought you might also be interested in my own website: ww.Tony WardEdu.com covers issues such as:

Community Design
Critical Theory
Critical Theorists
Critical Practice (Praxis)
Critical Pedagogy
Critical Education Theory
Indigenous Studies
Critical Psychology
Cultural Studies
Critical Aesthetics
Academic Programme Development
Sustainable Design
Critical Planning etc. etc.

The website at: http://www.TonyWardEdu.com contains more than 60 (absolutely free) downloadable and fully illustrated PDFs on all of these topics and more offered to students from the primer level, up to PhD. It also has a set of extensive case studies, bibliographies, glossaries (since much of the theorising is filled with jargon-based bullshit) and related web links in all of these areas.

Have a look at it and let me know what you think. If you like it, then perhaps bring it to the attention of your friends and colleagues for them to use as a resource.

There is no catch!

It’s just that I an retired and want to pass on the knowledge and experience acquired in 40 years of University teaching All that I ask in return, is that you and they let me know what you think about the website and cite me for any material that may be downloaded and/or used.

I would also appreciate a link to my site from your own so that others may come to know about it and use it.

Many thanks and best wishes

Dr. Tony Ward Dip.Arch. (Birm)
Academic Programme, Tertiary Education and Sustainable Design Consultant

(Ph) (07) 307 2245
(m) 027 22 66 563
(e) tonyward.transform@xtra.co.nz
(w) www.TonyWardEdu.com