Architecture, Affect and Architectural Practice
This thesis builds on and contributes to work in theories of affect that has risen within diverse fields, including geography, cultural studies, media studies and feminist writings, challenging the nature of textual and representational-based research. Although numerous studies have examined how affect emerges in- and through- the occupation of architectural spaces, little analytical attention has been paid to the creative process of design and the role that affect plays in the many contingencies and uncertainties that arise in the process. In this context, the question that this thesis explores is what architectural and theoretical relations can be drawn out when architectural practices are viewed through the lens of affect. Such inquiry is critical to allow practices of architecture to be seen not through defined patterns or contained agenda’s but rather through intensities and forces between bodies (both human and non-human); it is to discover practice as sites of potential - and in doing so to address the usefulness of affect to be applied to more grounded empirical fields. In order to explore the above question, the study is based on a qualitative research methodology, including interviewing; writing of observational notes; visiting the architectural offices as well as the projects, where possible/appropriate; and collection of key documents, architectural drawings, and images relating to the design project discussed. This thesis begins with a review of current critical thinking of affect. Its focus is upon how these renderings present particular links between affect, body and space. Further, the thesis considers a range of ideas from architectural scholars and geographers attempting to identify connections between architecture, affect and architectural practice, through notions of affective mediation, tinkering, and stuttering. The thesis then moves forward to present an in-depth case study of three architectural practices, RUR Architecture PC, Kerstin Thompson Architects and Shigeru Ban Architects, with specific architectural projects, in order to evaluate how affect is a significant element in the design process for emergent practices of architecture. Ultimately, this thesis argues how architectural practice may extend theories of affect, particularly broadening Sara Ahmed’s notion of ‘sticky affects’ within the context of architecture, through sticky images, sticky processes and sticky objects, respectively to each case study. Importantly, the thesis engages with the often mundane but highly creative aspect of design processes, not so much in terms of the results, or impact, of affect in the final architectural space, but in terms of how design processes consist of stuttering’s where affect can bring bodies together through affective stickiness. The thesis offers an alternative and extended model for the study of how affect plays itself out in the dynamic relationships between different bodies, happenings and relations in practices of architecture.