The relevance and use of theory when approaching the discipline of architecture would appear to have become eclipsed by the excitement associated with emerging digital technologies, and a renewed fascination in nature, appropriated from biological science in the form of genetic algorithmic models. What’s more, if we are to believe Michael Speaks’s Assemblage essay, “Which Way Avant-Garde?” (2000), we are by now obliged to admit the death of theory (a watered down version of philosophy), and contend instead with the fierce world of globalisation, organised by a new brand of intellectual, the entrepreneur or manager. The name, Gilles Deleuze, for instance, cited by Speaks himself, no longer carries its authoritative weight, and folded architecture has become decidedly outmoded. And yet architecture must still find some means of talking about itself, and conceptually enabling its activities. There is, in addition, the mounting institutional pressure for the architectural academic to publish their research. With this paper I will argue that theory constitutes a crucial part of an apprenticeship in the discipline of architecture in both pedagogical and professional contexts. I will return to the work of Deleuze with the claim that the legacy of his particular practice of thought, which we can name, creative philosophy, maintains an influence on the discourse surrounding digital architecture. Through Deleuze’s Spinozist lens I will also speculate on the possibility of imagining an ethics for architecture in what we can call a post-digital age. Here an ethics can also be taken on as an apprenticeship, rather than a predetermined moral code, wherein practice and theory enter into a relationship of ongoing and, at the same time, responsible experimentation in the arena of design.
Michael Speaks, “Which Way Avant-garde?”, Assemblage, no. 41 (April, 2000), p. 78.
Brisbane: QUT , 2005.
post-digital architecture, Michael Speaks, Ethico-aesthetics, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari