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What is architecture for?


Malpas, J, What is architecture for?, International Journal of Architectural Theory, 22, (36) pp. 117-126. ISSN 1434-0984 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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"What is it to build?" (Was ist zu bauen?), asks Martin Heidegger in ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’. The question is one whose echoes can be heard in the title, as well as the text, of Karsten Harries’ The Ethical Function of Architecture, though as the title has it, the question at issue is not so much immediately directed at building, but at the closely related practice of architecture—"what is architecture for?"—and Harries’ answer is that what architecture is for (it’s "for the sake of which", to use the language of Heidegger’s Being and Time) is something ethical, which also means something concerned with the human. In this, Harries rejects, or at least treats as secondary, the idea of architecture’s function as primarily aesthetic—and even as primarily utilitarian (assuming that the ethical and the utilitarian are indeed distinct). Although he never makes the point himself, the way Harries connects architecture, and so also building, to the ethical seems implicitly to involve a reading of the question of ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’ that draws it into close proximity with Heidegger’s earlier ‘Letter on "Humanism’".

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:architecture, Heidegger
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Philosophy not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Malpas, J (Professor Jeff Malpas)
ID Code:120083
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-08-09
Last Modified:2018-05-07
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