Modes of Existence: Architecture and Philosophy (MAP)

Architecture and philosophy, as a material-discursive practice, has literally and materially shaped our built and living environments for centuries, building on concepts such as identity and socio-economic status. Nevertheless, we are often oblivious of a) how these environments are produced; b) how they affect us; and c) how we may affect them in return. What if architects and philosophers work together to approach the world not through the worn dualism of objective structures and subjective interpretations, but in terms of its various modes of existence? It would be to understand the urban environment relationally, that is, as composed of heterogenous but intersecting processes of becoming. Dynamic and incomplete by definition, it is through the convergence of modes that nature and technology, culture, science, politics, law, and daily existence become coherent and concrete.

To think and build in terms of modes, moreover, means to participate in their ecology. This calls out for the development of new conceptual and methodological frameworks capable not only of describing ‘what is’, or anticipating ‘what might be’, but especially to become aware of processes that produce and foster actual change. Thus, the transversal convergence of architecture and philosophy is a vital component in the formation of new environmental knowledges and urban awareness.

The broadening minor ‘Modes of Existence: Architecture and Philosophy’ (MAP) offers a theoretical and practical merger of philosophy and architecture via (speculative) design. It gives students of architecture and philosophy the opportunity to close-read key contemporary theoretical texts, while learning to put concepts into practice by addressing transdisciplinary problems with a design-oriented eye. Further, students will learn how to bring ideas to life within a given urban context by working closely with other human and non-human interlocutors, including residents, stakeholders and cutting-edge technologies. Teaching will be hybrid and involves workshops (offline) and seminars/lectures (online optional).

The minor MAP aims to:

  • develop a transversal and transdisciplinary approach to identify and address shared problems and concerns in regards to the production of contemporary urban environments (and the milieu in general);
  • develop methodological innovations that inform and trigger new ways of speculative design;
  • offer participating students a cross-domain mentality and attitude based on in-depth reading of seminal literature in philosophy, theory, design and architecture and their application in real life contexts.