Three views on the RAE Design and the computer…and theory is changing
|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, December 2002, n. 4, v. 6|
While I enthusiastically welcome Michael Speaks' article ‘No hope no fear’, which draws attention to a significant shift in the culture of the architecture studio (arq 6/3, pp209–212), I question the advisability of announcing ‘the death of theory’, as it is going to be misunderstood, with unhelpful consequences. We have had theory of a sort for as long as we have had architecture, but this is not the sort of theory whose death is announced. The theory whose death is announced is much more closely defined, and while it has flourished in some places, in others it has hardly taken root. There are some ‘traditionalists’ to use Speaks' term, who have well-developed theoretical ideas, and others (whom I would prefer to call philistines) who think that we can get along perfectly well without anything more analytical than common sense and intuition. ‘The death of theory’ belongs to a recognizable tradition of such rhetorical deaths as that of the author, and – most pertinently here – Foucault's ‘death of man’. As in those cases, ‘we’ might get excited about a world-changing cataclysm, but most people will continue as if nothing had happened, and there is no doubt that theory will continue to flourish, in just the way that authors flourish and ‘man’ flourishes, despite being long dead.
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