A collection of illuminating essays exploring what theory makes of architecture and what architecture makes of theory in philosophical and materialized contexts.
From poststructuralism and deconstruction to current theories of technology and nature, critical theory has long been closely aligned with architecture. In turn, architecture as a thinking profession materializes theory in the form of built work that always carries symbolic loads. In this collection of essays, Catherine Ingraham studies the complex connectivity between architecture's discipline and practice and theories of philosophy, art, literature, history, and politics. She argues that there can be no architecture without theory.
Whether considering architecture's relationship to biomodernity or exploring the ways in which contemporary artists and designers engage in figural play, Ingraham offers provocative interpretations that enhance our understanding of both critical theory and architectural practice today. Along the way, she engages with a wide range of contemporary theorists, including Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Graham Harman, and Timothy Morton, considering buildings around the world, including the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, the Viceroy's House complex in New Delhi, Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam's Wolfsburg Science Center project in Germany, and the Superdome in New Orleans. Approaching its subject matter from multiple angles, Architecture's Theory shows how architecture's theoretical and artifactual practices have a unique power to alter culture.
Catherine Ingraham is a professor of architecture and urban design in the graduate architecture program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She was a visiting faculty member at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design from 2015 to 2019. A former editor of the journal Assemblage, sheis the author of Architecture and the Burdens of Linearity and Architecture, Animal, Human.
“In Architecture's Theory Catherine Ingraham offers both a renewed perspective and a poignant reminder of theory's role in the discernment and production of architecture today.”
Mark Lee, Chair of the Architecture Department, Harvard Graduate School of Design
“This book unabashedly celebrates architecture's often awkward dance with built materiality, imagination, and agency, while also providing a scrupulous guide to the steps and moves that can make it so compelling.”
Stephen Cairns, ETH Zurich / Monash Indonesia, co-author of Buildings Must Die: A Perverse View of Architecture