ABE 008

Ecologies of Architecture 7
Everybody Loves Ruyer: The Architecture of Neo-finalism

The Theory Chair of the Architecture Department is offering ABE 008 seminar to PhD candidates and academic research staff, whose research topics relate to architectural and urban theory, philosophy, and contemporary concerns of spatial, socio-political, ethico-aesthetical, cultural and scientific relevance to the disciplines of design.

The course is framed within a seminar structure during the Spring term, in which participants will engage in guided readings and group discussions on the thematic of each individual session. The aim is to generate an environment in which all participants will gain knowledge on a specific topic, while developing a set of useful methodologies and research skills.

The seventh edition of the course Ecologies of Architecture will kick off in February 2020 under the guidance of Andrej Radman and Stavros Kousoulas. Ecologies of Architecture VII will be devoted to the close reading of Ruyer’s magnum opus: Neofinalism.

Neither matter, nor life, nor consciousness can be reduced to the other. According to Ruyer the fundamental line of demarcation in nature can no longer be drawn between the organic and the inorganic, or between mind and body, but must be relocated in the distinction between ‘absolute forms’, as unitary domains of action, and the ‘molar aggregates’ into which they enter. These domains of ‘absolute survey’ implicate “a metaphysical ‘dimension’” of trans-spatial mnemic themes that is “altogether different from the geometric dimensions of space-time”, and it is the development of this new metaphysics that is Ruyer’s fundamental contribution to philosophy. Despite having been written almost seventy years ago, Neofinalism retains an extraordinary topicality and immediacy that makes it an essential contribution to the concerns of contemporary architecture theory.

Learning Objectives

In a desperate attempt to catch up with forms of contemporary image culture, architects tend to forget where their strength lies. To speak of culture as forms of life, as Scott Lash argues, is to break with earlier notions of culture as representation, as reflection. It is to break with judgement for experience, with epistemology for ontology, and finally to break with a certain type of cognition for living. While accepting multiple scales of reality the Ecologies of Architecture opposes the alleged primacy of the ‘physical’ world discovered by physics. By contrast, it posits that what we have to perceive and cope with is the world considered as the environment. The emphasis is on the encounter, where experience is seen as an emergence which returns the body to a process field of exteriority. The ultimate goal of the Ecologies of Architecture is to debunk hylomorphism – where form is imposed upon inert matter from without and where the architect is seen as a god-given, inspired creator and genius – and to promote the alternative morphogenetic approach that is at once more humble and ambitious.

At the conclusion of each seminar / course the participants will have:

  • gained knowledge and understanding on the specific thematic and context of each seminar (content-based)
  • associated the contents of the seminar to his or her own research topic, expressing this relationship in concrete, relevant ways (argument-based)
  • developed skills relevant to carrying out advanced research: from following intensive readings and discussing them in a peer work-group, to preparing an academic research paper for publication (method-based)

Teaching Method

This course will follow a seminar structure and advanced research methods. Depending on the individual seminar leaders, the seminar will follow a series of formats, but generally will be based on fortnightly research output presentations, followed by a discussion on sources, references and bibliographies, which will involve the creation of an information nexus for the seminar discussions. The ultimate goal of each seminar is to assist the participants to develop reasoned and convincing argument, as well as to develop scholarly research papers for publication.


Raymond Ruyer, Neofinalism, trans. A. Edlebi (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, [1952] 2016).

About the Lecturers

Andrej Radman has been teaching theory courses and design studios at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment since 2004. In 2008 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Architecture and joined the Architecture Theory Chair. As a graduate of the Zagreb School of Architecture in Croatia, Radman received a Master’s Degree cum laude and a Doctoral Degree from Delft University of Technology. His current research focuses on New Materialism in general and Ecologies of Architecture in particular. Radman is a production editor and member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed architecture theory journal Footprint. He is also a licensed architect with a portfolio of built and competition-winning projects. In 2002 Radman won the Croatian Association of Architects annual award for housing architecture in Croatia. His latest publication, coedited with Heidi Sohn, is Critical and Clinical Cartographies: Architecture, Robotics, Medicine, Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Stavros Kousoulas studied Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and at TU Delft. Since 2012, as a researcher and lecturer, he has been part of the Theory Section of the Faculty of Architecture of TU Delft. He received his doctoral title cum laude from IUAV Venice participating in the Villard d’ Honnecourt International Research Doctorate. He has published and lectured in Europe and abroad. He is a member of the editorial board of Footprint Delft Architecture Theory Journal since 2014.


Session 1: 24 February 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

1. The Axiological Cogito 
2. Description of Finalist Activity 
3. Finalist Activity and Organic Life
4. The Contradictions of Biological Antifinalism

Session 2: 9 March 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

5. Finalist Activity and the Nervous System
6. The Brain and the Embryo

Session 3: 23 March 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

7. Signification of Equipotentiality
8. The Reciprocal Illusion of Incarnation and “Material” Existence

Session 4: 6 April 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

9. “Absolute Surfaces” and Absolute Domains of Survey
10. Absolute Domains and Bonds
11. Absolute Domains and Finality 

Session 5: 24 April 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

12. The Region of the Transspatial and the Transindividual
13. The Levels of the Transspatial and Finalist Activity
14. The Beings of the Physical World and the Fibrous Structure of the Universe 

Session 6: 11 May 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

15. The Neo-Materialist Theories
16. Neo-Darwinism and Natural Selection 

Session 7: 25 May 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

17. Neo-Darwinism and Genetics
18. Organicism and the Dynamism of Finality

Session 8: 8 June 2020, 14.30 - 18.00 hrs, 01+.Oost.860

19. Psycho-Lamarckism
20. Theology of Finality

How to enroll

Please send an email with your name, mail address, start date, research group and title of your research to abe@tudelft.nl

Course Info

Course code
ABE 008

Course type
Advanced courses on a range of topics involving architectural/urban theory, philosophy, cultural analysis and science

Most appropriate for

PhD candidates at all stages

Free for PhD candidates of A+BE Graduate School

Number of participants
min. 10 /max. 12

Name of lecturer(s)/coach(es)
Dr.ir. Andrej Radman,
Dr.ir. Stavros Kousoulas

Course load
Active period: 28 hours contact (seminar) plus 28 hours self-study (preparation)

Graduate School credits

Attendance and active participation

Once a year in Spring

Upcoming course dates and times
Spring 2020, Mondays 14:30-18:00
01+.Oost.860(see detailed schedule in course description)

Dr.ir. Andrej Radman