Petra Čeferin / The Resistant Capacity of Architecture

The Resis­tant Capac­i­ty of Architecture

Petra Čeferin

We live and work in high­ly prob­lem­at­ic times, a time of burn­ing issues that include the envi­ron­men­tal cri­sis, the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of democ­ra­cy, deep­en­ing social dif­fer­ences, hous­ing crises, and mass migra­tions, to list but a few of the enor­mous chal­lenges of the day. Crit­i­cal aware­ness of this spe­cial time is reflect­ed also in the field of archi­tec­ture, which is expressed as a call to action – a call to pur­sue archi­tec­ture as an active co-cre­ator of soci­ety, a co-bear­er of much need­ed social change today.

This ten­den­cy is high­ly vis­i­ble at the forth­com­ing Venice Bien­ni­al.[1] Or, for instance, in the ori­en­ta­tion of the Lon­don Fes­ti­val of Archi­tec­ture that took a deci­sive turn away from last year's theme to care” towards a far more mil­i­tant posi­tion – the call to act”.[2] Indeed we also find such a direc­tion – towards devel­op­ing the full pow­er of archi­tec­ture in rela­tion to social issues – increas­ing­ly present in design prac­tice. Archi­tec­tur­al the­o­ry too is return­ing to the ques­tion of archi­tec­tur­al agency in rela­tion to soci­ety.[3] It seems that a kind of front is tak­ing form: a front that aims at pur­su­ing an active role for archi­tec­ture in soci­ety, a front that no longer con­tents itself with repeat­ing the stan­dard claims – how deeply archi­tec­ture is embed­ded in the mech­a­nisms that run our world of glob­alised cap­i­tal­ism, how its capac­i­ty to affect change is so entire­ly blocked today and sim­i­lar. Instead, it is inter­est­ed in an active way, in the pos­si­bil­i­ty of break­ing through this con­di­tion of impo­tence – a con­di­tion in which we, as Junk­space would describe it, appear caught in a web with­out a spi­der.”[4]

But for this front to be effec­tive – and this is the cen­tral the­sis of this arti­cle – the fol­low­ing is essen­tial: in order to tap into the full poten­tial of archi­tec­ture the issues and chal­lenges that archi­tec­ture and thus we as archi­tects con­front today have to be thought in the way of archi­tec­ture; they have to be thought archi­tec­tural­ly. In oth­er words, we have to think them from the point of view of archi­tec­ture. We have to think them as prob­lems and chal­lenges that archi­tec­ture con­fronts as archi­tec­ture.

What does this actu­al­ly mean?

This means that archi­tec­ture doesn't under­stand and approach its task, some par­tic­u­lar devel­op­ment of pub­lic space for instance, as a task imposed from out­side, from some exter­nal agency – even if it is in fact an exter­nal agency that calls on archi­tec­ture to solve an issue of pub­lic space. But rather that archi­tec­ture under­stands and approach­es this task as its inter­nal task; that archi­tec­ture approach­es this task as an archi­tec­tur­al task. And to approach it as an archi­tec­tur­al task means that at the same time it is solv­ing this task, it also con­structs itself as archi­tec­ture – as that spe­cif­ic body of the­o­ry and prac­tice that con­nects sci­ence, tech­nique, tech­nol­o­gy, and art.

That archi­tec­ture devel­ops an archi­tec­tur­al solu­tion for a giv­en task means, first­ly, that it con­structs that par­tic­u­lar object which it should or wants to make (such as a pub­lic space or a school, a house) as an object that is spe­cif­ic to archi­tec­ture; that is to say, as an archi­tec­tur­al object. And not sim­ply as some kind of (dec­o­rat­ed) util­i­tar­i­an object. And sec­ond­ly, it means that while it cre­ates its object – the archi­tec­tur­al object – it is also archi­tec­ture itself that appears in the world as archi­tec­ture. More pre­cise­ly, it appears as a cre­ative think­ing prac­tice – a prac­tice that with each con­struct­ed object also con­structs itself anew, invents itself anew. It re-invents itself.

And only when archi­tec­ture works in such a way can archi­tec­ture tru­ly be pro­duc­tive for the soci­ety in which it operates.


Not only because its objects, the prod­ucts that archi­tec­ture con­structs, respond to the var­i­ous needs and require­ments of dif­fer­ent seg­ments of (a giv­en) soci­ety in its time and space, its tem­po­ral and spa­tial sit­u­a­tion. And not only because archi­tec­ture con­structs pub­lic spaces, schools, kinder­gartens, or hous­ing. But because, to empha­size the point once again, it con­structs all these objects as archi­tec­tur­al objects. And archi­tec­tur­al objects are objects of a spe­cial kind. They are sub­jec­ti­fied objects.

What does this mean?

This means that at the same time archi­tec­ture con­structs its objects, that is, when it con­structs sub­jec­ti­fied objects, it also co-con­structs, co-cre­ates a human being as their spe­cif­ic pro­duc­er, spec­ta­tor, user. It co-cre­ates him or her as a sub­jec­ti­fied human being.

And here, in my view, lies the social­ly trans­for­ma­tive poten­tial of archi­tec­ture. And archi­tec­ture can realise this poten­tial if it acti­vates its cre­ative poten­tial, its cre­ative capac­i­ty. My posi­tion, there­fore, holds that the act which is nec­es­sary today – and not only for us archi­tects – is the act of insis­tence on archi­tec­ture as a cre­ative think­ing prac­tice.[5] A call to action should be con­ceived and under­stood as a call to archi­tec­ture that oper­ates in each giv­en sit­u­a­tion, in the world, as a prac­tice of cre­ative think­ing. This is what we shall devel­op here in this article.

Changing the Question

The act that should be realised today was already defined, in his own par­tic­u­lar way, by Gian­car­lo De Car­lo in his sem­i­nal lec­ture Architecture's Pub­lic”.[6] He defined it as the neces­si­ty to refor­mu­late the ques­tion that leads architects.

Archi­tects focused on the ques­tion how?,” De Car­lo argued, while they neglect­ed the real­ly impor­tant ques­tion – which is the ques­tion why?”. In order that archi­tec­ture evolve into what it poten­tial­ly is – and it is, to sum up De Car­lo, a social­ly trans­for­ma­tive prac­tice, or as I would put it, a cre­ative think­ing prac­tice – we have to refor­mu­late the ques­tion how’, such that we first focus on the why”.

We can only agree with De Car­lo. More pre­cise­ly, we can agree with him on one con­di­tion – on the con­di­tion that we under­stand the ques­tion why” most lit­er­al­ly. That we under­stand it as ask­ing – strict­ly speak­ing – about that ulti­mate cause of the architect's action. We need to under­stand it as ask­ing the ques­tion: What is it that dri­ves and guides me as an archi­tect? Or to put it some­what dif­fer­ent­ly: What is it – what is that archi­tec­tur­al cause” – to which I am com­mit­ted as an archi­tect? Put in more gen­er­al terms: What is it that we as archi­tects are striv­ing for in our action; what does archi­tec­tur­al action strive to achieve?

The turn from the one ques­tion to the oth­er is the turn from archi­tec­ture as a prac­tice of instru­men­tal think­ing to archi­tec­ture as a prac­tice of cre­ative think­ing.

The prac­tice of instru­men­tal think­ing lim­its itself to ques­tions relat­ed to solv­ing the prob­lems and tasks that the giv­en social real­i­ty has defined as the prob­lems and tasks that need to be addressed or solved. And at the last instance they need to be solved, because their solu­tions serve to pre­serve the giv­en real­i­ty – real­i­ty as it is. Instru­men­tal think­ing prac­tice is and always remains deter­mined by the frame­work of the giv­en real­i­ty; it does not try to crit­i­cal­ly sur­pass or move beyond this real­i­ty. Rather the oppo­site: it is always sub­servient to it.[7]

Instead, the prac­tice of cre­ative think­ing active­ly engages in deter­min­ing the key ques­tions and prob­lems that should be addressed and solved in social real­i­ty, such that this real­i­ty could oper­ate and evolve as a sphere of free, eman­ci­pat­ed, and egal­i­tar­i­an indi­vid­u­als. With­in the frame­work of the giv­en real­i­ty this prac­tice oper­ates such that it draws on that which it itself is capa­ble of pre­sent­ing and pur­su­ing with­in the frame­work of an affir­ma­tive argu­ment, as that cause of think­ing and action that is worth defend­ing and fight­ing for.

It is this cause, and not real­i­ty as it is, that gives this prac­tice its sup­port and its ori­en­ta­tion, the cause that the prac­tice of cre­ative think­ing itself con­structs in the world. Cre­ative think­ing is there­fore always a sep­a­ra­tion from the frame­work of the giv­en real­i­ty. This is how philoso­pher Rado Riha defines it; he writes that it is the act of bounc­ing away, dis­tanc­ing itself from the giv­en real­i­ty, the act of inter­rupt­ing with the giv­en order, the giv­en real­i­ty,” and thus it is the act of resis­tance: The resistence to what is and what insists because it just is the way it is.”[8] Archi­tec­ture resists because it is dri­ven by the cause. It realis­es this cause in the form of its objects, the archi­tec­tur­al objects. And inso­far as it suc­ceeds in this con­struc­tion, it is with these objects that archi­tec­ture infringes on, breaks the frame­work in which the giv­en real­i­ty is framed.

(Re)Constructing the Cause in the World

Let us look at this more close­ly. Let us first observe the con­struc­tion of archi­tec­tur­al objects. How does an archi­tect work when she sets out to solve a task? How does this process begin?

At the begin­ning, an archi­tect encoun­ters var­i­ous con­di­tions and fac­tors rel­e­vant to the giv­en task. These include a rich cor­pus of archi­tec­tur­al knowl­edge, past and present, the his­to­ry of archi­tec­ture and cur­rent trends, as well as the require­ments of the con­crete pro­gram, site, leg­is­la­tion, and tech­nol­o­gy. Of course, these con­di­tions also include the fac­tors that con­sti­tute the wider con­text of the giv­en task, such as the cur­rent envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, con­tem­po­rary con­sumer cul­ture, etc. This set of var­i­ous con­di­tions con­sti­tutes the mate­r­i­al” with which an archi­tect works when she engages in a spe­cif­ic task. What makes this task tru­ly demand­ing, how­ev­er, is that there is no recipe, no rule or guide that could tell an archi­tect how to use this mate­r­i­al”, how to put it togeth­er, such that as a result archi­tec­ture would be made – that is to say, an object that is not mere­ly a util­i­tar­i­an object but is at the same time also an archi­tec­tur­al object.

The giv­en con­di­tions there­fore do not con­sti­tute all of the pos­si­ble con­di­tions. Anoth­er con­di­tion must be added to them, a strict­ly archi­tec­tur­al con­di­tion – the con­di­tion that con­cerns archi­tec­ture itself. This is the con­di­tion that the archi­tect is able to use the giv­en set of con­di­tions in an appro­pri­ate way, such that she con­structs archi­tec­ture out of it. Archi­tec­ture as an activ­i­ty that appears in the world in the form of its prod­ucts, its con­struct­ed objects – archi­tec­tur­al objects.

The addi­tion of this con­di­tion, which is the spon­ta­neous begin­ning of every archi­tec­tur­al task, is usu­al­ly called an inter­ven­tion in the giv­en con­di­tions. The inter­ven­tion – this is the architect's act with which she opens up an emp­ty place in the set of giv­en con­di­tions, a place for her­self. It is in this place that the archi­tect sit­u­ates her­self with her con­crete deci­sion as to how to recon­struct the giv­en con­di­tions and con­nect them such that this will lead to the appro­pri­ate archi­tec­tur­al solu­tion of the giv­en task. It is here, in this place, that archi­tec­ture begins.

Why do I say that this place is emp­ty? Again: because there is no rule and no recipe that could tell the archi­tect how to achieve an archi­tec­tur­al solu­tion of her con­crete task. The right way of con­struct­ing archi­tec­ture out of the giv­en con­di­tions must each time be found anew, from case to case. It must be invented.

The cre­ative prac­tice of archi­tec­ture is there­fore, in a way, cre­atio ex nihi­lo. Not, nat­u­ral­ly, because it would ignore the giv­en con­di­tions, iso­late itself from its envi­ron­men­tal con­text. But because it is ground­ed in the act – the act of inter­ven­ing in the con­di­tions, open­ing up an emp­ty place with­in them.[9]

It is pre­cise­ly from this emp­ty place that an archi­tect pro­ceeds with her con­struc­tion­al act. The architect's act there­fore has no oth­er sup­port but the act itself. More pre­cise­ly, its sup­port is that cause that guides the archi­tect in her con­struc­tion, in the process of solv­ing a giv­en task – the cause which forces her to think, that is, to con­struct. Where­by she does not know and can­not know in advance what exact­ly this cause is. This par­tic­u­lar way of act­ing is well described by archi­tect Zvi Heck­er, when he says that an artist – and I would say that the same holds true for an archi­tect – is nev­er ful­ly aware of what he does, but nev­er­the­less has to do it very pre­cise­ly.”[10]

The only way to find out, to assume this cause that guides an archi­tect, is to mate­ri­alise it in the world, ren­der it mate­ri­al­ly present. In short: con­struct it, build it in the form of a mate­r­i­al object that she con­structs. And if she suc­ceeds, then the con­struct­ed object is an object, redou­bled in itself. It is redou­bled into the con­struct­ed util­i­tar­i­an object and (in each case spe­cif­ic) the cause of archi­tec­ture, which this con­struct­ed object ren­ders vis­i­ble. That is to say, it is redou­bled into the util­i­tar­i­an object and that spe­cif­ic form of archi­tec­tural­ness that an archi­tect strives to realise in her con­struct­ed object. If she suc­ceeds in this process, then the util­i­tar­i­an object, apart from being the util­i­tar­i­an object, also becomes the archi­tec­tur­al object.

And the archi­tec­tur­al object is an object of a spe­cial kind. For it not only works as the prod­uct of archi­tec­tur­al prac­tice, but at the same time it also works as its cause. This cause is man­i­fest­ed in the way that the con­struct­ed object is always also some­thing else than what it is. It is an expres­sion of the time and space, the con­di­tions in which it was made. It car­ries dif­fer­ent mean­ings. And yet, it can nev­er be reduced to its set of con­di­tions and it can nev­er be entire­ly exhaust­ed by the mean­ings with which we invest it. To put it more con­cep­tu­al­ly: it is an object that is always dif­fer­ent from itself. In short: it is an object with an inner dif­fer­ence.[11] It is because of this inner dif­fer­ence – because of its so to speak eter­nal some­thing else” – that this object trig­gers our thought, the thought of us as archi­tects, the bear­ers of archi­tec­tur­al action. It forces us to think, that is, to con­struct.[12]

The dif­fer­ence, the inner dif­fer­ence, which char­ac­teris­es the archi­tec­tur­al object is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the fact that this object was con­struct­ed from an emp­ty place, so to speak, ex nihi­lo. For we can say for this dif­fer­ence that it is almost noth­ing. Objec­tive­ly speak­ing it is noth­ing. We can­not see the dif­fer­ence as such – we only see a well-con­struct­ed object. And yet it isn't sim­ply null, because for the archi­tec­tur­al object it is cru­cial, con­sti­tu­tive. It is owing to this inter­nal dif­fer­ence that the archi­tec­tur­al object resists being reduced to the set of con­di­tions out of which it was con­struct­ed, or entire­ly cap­tured in the vast net­work of var­i­ous mean­ings. It can­not be sit­u­at­ed with­in the frame­work of the giv­en real­i­ty, but in its mate­r­i­al pres­ence – as I said ear­li­er – it breaks this frame­work itself. And as such it can per­sist and endure in dif­fer­ent times, in dif­fer­ent spa­tio-tem­po­ral sit­u­a­tions, some­times for cen­turies.[13]

Co-Creating Architectural People

The archi­tect is one who suc­ceeds in cre­at­ing such objects, objects with an inner dif­fer­ence. But here we must be more pre­cise: only when an archi­tect cre­ates an object with an inner dif­fer­ence does she real­ly become an archi­tect. When we are in the realm of cre­ative action, an archi­tect isn’t sim­ply one who, as a grand cre­ator” sov­er­eign­ly cre­ates her objects. It would be more appro­pri­ate to say that exact­ly the oppo­site is true: it is the object that cre­ates the archi­tect. Object in a spe­cif­ic sense – the object as the cause of archi­tec­ture, a spe­cif­ic archi­tec­tur­al idea that the archi­tect tries to realise in the con­struc­tion of her objects. The cause of archi­tec­ture works both as a firm start­ing point and as that which dri­ves and guides the archi­tect in her con­struc­tions. But as such a dri­ving force and start­ing point it exists only in the abil­i­ty of the archi­tect to con­struct it in her prod­ucts, again and again. And if she suc­ceeds in this process, she attains what she is look­ing for. She encoun­ters that cause, the ulti­mate cause of her action. It is in this encounter that she only real­ly con­sti­tutes her­self – con­sti­tutes her­self as an archi­tect. Or, to use the more explic­it for­mu­la­tion by Riha, she con­sti­tutes her­self as an archi­tec­tur­al work­er, as one who serves archi­tec­ture, or serves that cause which she recog­nised as that which is cru­cial for architecture.

This way of act­ing can be called the process of sub­jec­ti­va­tion. This is the process in which those who enter archi­tec­ture – from the archi­tect to the many pos­si­ble users and spec­ta­tors of archi­tec­ture – are in the process of becom­ing subjects.

The fig­ure of sub­ject first appears in the Enlight­en­ment, and marks the emer­gence of inde­pen­dent think­ing, of some­one who thinks inde­pen­dent­ly. For the process of sub­jec­ti­va­tion, to which archi­tec­ture invites us (and not only archi­tec­ture, but all cre­ative think­ing prac­tices) some­thing else is char­ac­ter­is­tic. This is a dou­ble inde­pen­dence; that is, the insep­a­ra­bil­i­ty of inde­pen­dent think­ing and inde­pen­dent action.[14] Sub­jec­ti­va­tion or the becom­ing of a sub­ject there­fore means to be in the process of becom­ing an agent of inde­pen­dent think­ing AND action.[15] More pre­cise­ly, an agent who shares her inde­pen­dence with the cause that guides her.

The cause of archi­tec­ture is the cen­tral point of the cre­ative prac­tice of archi­tec­ture. It is that which on the one hand the archi­tect alone con­structs in the world, and which on the oth­er hand con­structs her as an archi­tect. It gives her sup­port and ori­en­ta­tion such that she can be in the world in that par­tic­u­lar way that is char­ac­ter­is­tic for cre­ative action – in the way of dis­tanc­ing her­self from the sit­u­a­tion, of bounc­ing away from it. An archi­tect who is dri­ven by the cause there­fore not only pro­duces objects of a spe­cial kind, but also acts in a spe­cial way. She is in the giv­en world in the way that with­in that world and its log­ic she acts regard­less of that log­ic. She pur­sues her own log­ic, the log­ic of the cause of archi­tec­ture – the log­ic of cre­ativ­i­ty. She is in the world in the way that she is torn-out of the world. 

By cre­at­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tear­ing one­self out of the mech­a­nisms of the giv­en world, archi­tec­ture, just like all cre­ative prac­tices, opens this pos­si­bil­i­ty up not only to archi­tects, but to all. Not only to those who them­selves con­struct archi­tec­ture, not only to the pro­duc­ers, but also the spec­ta­tors and users of archi­tec­ture. The cre­ative think­ing prac­tice of archi­tec­ture does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate between the experts and the rest, the peo­ple. It requires the same from all: to acti­vate their sen­su­al and intel­lec­tu­al capac­i­ties. And these are gener­ic human capac­i­ties, capac­i­ties that every­one has.[16]

This is how archi­tec­ture works when it approach­es its tasks – such as the devel­op­ment of pub­lic space – as archi­tec­tur­al tasks, and when it also suc­ceeds to solve them as such. Then it con­structs struc­tures and spaces that, in a way, con­struct us. They con­sti­tute what we could call a place for human life. A place for a human being who found there some­thing that has worked as an eye open­er”, and a hear­ing sharp­en­er”, and a trig­ger for thought”. They con­sti­tute places for a human being who looks because she wants to see; who lis­tens because she wants to hear; who thinks because she wants to think and under­stand. In short, archi­tec­ture cre­ates places for a human being who is capa­ble of look­ing, feel­ing, lis­ten­ing, and think­ing inde­pen­dent­ly – a place for a human being who acti­vates her or his own sen­su­al and intel­lec­tu­al capac­i­ties. As a result, she or he is in the world in a spe­cial way – in the way of an agent of inde­pen­dent think­ing and action. And it is the acti­va­tion of this capac­i­ty to think and act inde­pen­dent­ly, the capac­i­ty intrin­sic to every human being, that is the first and nec­es­sary con­di­tion for every true social change.

  1. 1

    See the state­ment of the 2023 Venice Bien­ni­al cura­tor Les­ley Lokko: Bien­nale architet­tura 2023: the lab­o­ra­to­ry of the future,” La Bien­nale di Venezia, May 31, 2022.

  2. 2

    2022 Fes­ti­val Theme: Act,” LFA Lon­don Fes­ti­val of Architecture.

  3. 3

    See for instance: Space Caviar eds., Non-Extrac­tive Archi­tec­ture: On Design­ing with­out Deple­tion (Berlin: Stern­berg Press, 2021), Gabu Heindl et al. eds., Build­ing Cri­tique: Archi­tec­ture and its Dis­con­tents (Leipzig: Spec­tor Books, 2020), Gevork Har­toon­ian ed., Glob­al Per­spec­tives on Crit­i­cal Archi­tec­ture. Prax­is Reloaded (Lon­don and New York: Rout­ledge, 2014); Nadir Lahi­ji ed., Archi­tec­ture Against the Post-Polit­i­cal. Essays in Reclaim­ing the Crit­i­cal Project (Lon­don and New York: Rout­ledge, 2014), and others.

  4. 4

    Rem Kool­haas, Junk­space,” Octo­ber, no. 100 (2002): 179.

  5. 5

    For a detailed elab­o­ra­tion of the struc­tur­al log­ic of archi­tec­ture as prac­tice of cre­ative think­ing – the way this prac­tice is struc­tured and the way it oper­ates in the world: Petra Čeferin, The Resis­tant Object of Archi­tec­ture: A Lacan­ian Per­spec­tive (Lon­don: Rout­ledge, 2021).

  6. 6

    Gian­car­lo De Car­lo, Architecture's Pub­lic,” in Archi­tec­ture and Par­tic­i­pa­tion, eds. Peter Blun­dell Jones, D. Petres­cu and Jere­my Till (Abing­don: Spon Press, 2007), 3–22.

  7. 7

    The prob­lem of the archi­tects of the Mod­ern Move­ment was not, as De Car­lo writes, that they would not think. But they were think­ing only that which the cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem gave them to think. They were think­ing instru­men­tal­ly – to best ful­fil the require­ments imposed on them by the pow­er struc­ture. And they did that bril­liant­ly – but there­fore they also failed bril­liant­ly. For with their design pro­pos­als they only sup­port­ed the giv­en sys­tem and thus the many social inequal­i­ties and injus­tices that entailed. De Car­lo: Con­cen­trat­ing on prob­lems of how”, they played into the hands of the pow­er struc­ture. In neglect­ing the prob­lems of why”, they lost track of the most impor­tant rea­sons for their cul­tur­al com­mit­ment.” (De Car­lo, 8) If they asked what is (what I call) the cause of their activ­i­ty, the cause of archi­tec­ture, they would come up with dif­fer­ent answers. Which is what De Car­lo did. He found that dif­fer­ent answer in par­tic­i­pa­tion, the con­cept that he puts at the cen­tre of his lecture/text and that he con­tin­ued to devel­op in his lat­er work. This was one of the caus­es that guid­ed De Car­lo in his prac­tice – guid­ed him as an archi­tect who, as his work demon­strates, thought creatively.

  8. 8

    Rado Riha, Avtonomi­ja arhitek­ture in odloč(e)na žel­ja,” in Objekt v arhitek­turi: Deleuze-Riha-Framp­ton-Hays, ed. Petra Čeferin (Ljubl­jana: ZRC Pub­lish­ing, 2021), 45.

  9. 9

    For the con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of the cre­ative act as I fol­low it here see Rado Riha, Dozde­vek in dejan­je,” Filo­zof­s­ki vest­nik XXX, no. 1 (2009): 7–20.

  10. 10

    Zvi Heck­er and Andres Lep­ik, Sketch­es (Ost­fildern: Hat­je Cantz, 2012), 139.

  11. 11

    For a detailed elab­o­ra­tion of the archi­tec­tur­al object as an object with an inner dif­fer­ence see Čeferin, The Resis­tant Object, 104–120, et al.

  12. 12

    Riha describes this object par­tic­u­lar­ly well. He writes that it is the solu­tion of a task which always leaves behind some­thing unre­solved, always con­tains a moment of fail­ing”. Fail­ing not in the sense that the solu­tion would fail. Rather, this is a kind of struc­tur­al fail­ing, inso­far as togeth­er with the solu­tion a non-solu­tion is also cre­at­ed. In oth­er words, a suc­cess­ful solu­tion also reveals oth­er and dif­fer­ent, unfore­seen dimen­sions of the resolved prob­lem. Or it opens an entire­ly new prob­lem.” Cf. Riha, Avtonomi­ja arhitek­ture in odloč(e)na žel­ja,” 55.

  13. 13

    In Badiou's terms, an archi­tec­tur­al object could also be defined as a trans-sit­u­a­tion­al and untime­ly object. In his view, the con­struc­tion or cre­ation of such objects, which are the prod­ucts of cre­ative think­ing or cog­ni­tive enter­pris­es, requires courage. He writes: With­out a doubt, this is the prin­ci­ple of courage that under­lies any cog­ni­tive enter­prise: to be of one’s time, through an unprece­dent­ed man­ner of not being of one’s time. In Nietzsche’s terms, to have the courage to be untime­ly. Every true poem is an untime­ly obser­va­tion.” Cf. Alain Badiou, The Cen­tu­ry, transl. Alber­to Toscano (Cam­bridge: Poli­ty Press, 2007), 21.

  14. 14

    For the con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion of the process of sub­jec­ti­va­tion as the insep­a­ra­bil­i­ty of think­ing and action see Rado Riha, Kant in dru­gi kopernikan­s­ki obrat v filo­zofi­ji (Ljubl­jana: ZRC Pub­lish­ing, 2012), 379–399, et al.

  15. 15

    The sub­ject is not a con­di­tion, it is a process. One does not become a sub­ject (once and for all) but is becom­ing a sub­ject; when she thinks cre­ative­ly, she enters into the com­po­si­tion of the sub­ject and endures in this com­po­si­tion as long as s/he per­sists with the process of cre­ative think­ing. Badiou puts this suc­cinct­ly: Sub­ject is sub­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion.” See Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foun­da­tion of Uni­ver­sal­ism, trans. Ray Brassier (Stan­ford, CA: Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2003), 171.

  16. 16

    Of course, for archi­tec­ture to work in this way (poten­tial­ly) for all, it must also be avail­able to all. This requires two things. First­ly, that all kinds of struc­tures are designed as archi­tec­ture, not only some exclu­sive struc­tures; that archi­tec­ture is not the excep­tion, but the rule. And sec­ond­ly, that archi­tec­ture and the social sig­nif­i­cance of its prac­tice is pre­sent­ed and explained to the gen­er­al pub­lic. That archi­tec­ture – in the form of exhi­bi­tions, pub­li­ca­tions, lec­tures, etc. – in all its struc­tur­al, intel­lec­tu­al, sen­su­al, and emo­tion­al com­plex­i­ty appears in the pub­lic space.


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