Simon Beeson’s professional output

Material Thought: Siah Armajani and the Half-Open Door

Article – Published 20th Nov 15

The theoretical consideration of architecture is a rich vein of cultural theory, but too readily considered as dis-embodied and abstract, interpreted through text. This paper suggests that we reconsider the relationship of the theoretical and the architectural by observing how architecture manipulates intrinsically material ideas. One example can be found in the work of artist Siah Armajani, whose Dictionary for Building explores the arrangement of ordinary things. Reference is made with Bachelard’s study of the spatial imagination in poetry and Langer’s theory of aesthetics. Armajani allows the made-thing and made-thought to co- exist in a state of reverie, revealing architectural ideas for contemplation. While other disciplines and practices undoubtedly contribute to an expanded field of architectural theory, the theoretical-of-the-architectural originates in these tangible-thoughts: sensual theories of material thought. An architectural idea might be considered as an emergent property of inhabited spatial-material constructions.

Publication details

Publication status Published
Refereed 1
Publication title Architecture and Culture
Publishers name Routledge
Volume Volume 4 issue 3
Identification number 10.1080/20507828.2016.1239944
Number of pages 7
Page range 511–517
ISSN 2050-7828