Deleuze and Architecture

Deleuze and Architecture

Deleuze and Architecture

Deleuze and Architecture

Synopsis

This collection of 15 essays looks critically at how Deleuze challenges architecture as a discipline, how architecture contributes to philosophy and how we can come to understand the complex politics of space of our increasingly networked world. The contributors are a team of international, interdisciplinary contributors, with essays from John Rajchman, Elizabeth Grosz and Brian Massumi. Since the 1980s, Deleuze's philosophy has fuelled a generation of architectural thinking, and can be seen in the design of a global range of contemporary built environments. His work has also alerted architecture to crucial ecological, political and social problems that the discipline needs to reconcile.

Excerpt

Hélène Frichot and Stephen Loo

The combinatorial exhausts its object, but only because its subject is himself
exhausted. The exhaustive and the exhausted [l’exhaustif et l’exhausté].
(Deleuze 1998: 154)

How is it that the legacy of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze has lasted so long and impacted so greatly on both the practice and thinking of architecture? Is this because of a certain fundamental friendship that exists between philosophy and architecture? In their last work What Is Philosophy?, Deleuze and his long-time collaborator Félix Guattari define friendship as ‘a type of competent intimacy, a sort of material taste and potentiality, like that of a joiner with wood’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 3). The philosophers’ answer to ‘what is philosophy?’ is always already architectural when they say it is ‘the art of forming, inventing and fabricating concepts’ (1994: 2).

The uptake of the philosophy of Deleuze, and Guattari, in design practice and critical thinking in architecture since the 1980s has been fast, furious and multifarious. From an analysis of the differences between ‘smooth’ and ‘striated’ space, to ubiquitous formal translations of the process of ‘folding’, to appropriations of concepts such as ‘immanence’ and the ‘virtual’ in digital architecture, the consumption of Deleuze’s philosophical concepts has fuelled more than a generation of architectural thinking, and is manifest in the design of a global range of contemporary built environments. Deleuzian philosophy also suggests critical approaches to crucial ecological, political and social problems with which architecture must continue to grapple, contributing significantly to the relations between aesthetics and ethics. We can say that Deleuze’s concepts have provided architecture with lines of flight or the conditions of possibility of thinking otherwise, at the same time reinforcing architecture’s relevance to the discipline of philosophy, whether metaphorical or ontological.

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