An Architecture of Aesthetic Incarnation

An Architecture of Aesthetic Incarnation is my MArch Thesis project, proposing an architectural world that might be more aligned to that of the aesthetically incarnated rather then that of the program.  The thesis draws upon Timothy Morton's reading of OOO (Object orientated Ontology) along with early surrealist tactics, iterative design methodologies and experimental fabrication, aiming to unpack the ways in which they might be deployed in an architectural design process.


There exists a peculiar problem in the architectural profession today, one which has been growing at a rapid pace in recent years, it believes that there is a constant need to justify architecture solely by its own relations, ignoring the
vicarious and mysterious qualities that arise within the design process and its output. This problem becomes engrained in the architectural profession from the outset, as Mark Foster Gage notes, “It is difficult to find a project, especially
in today’s architecture schools, that is not the product of an arrow.”[1] These entrenched notions of architecture needing to justify itself to the outside world - most commonly in simple graphic design exercises - has lead to an increasing simplification of the profession, colourful arrows explain in the most minimal ways why a building curves in that particular manner or why a perfect cube has been removed from an otherwise formless mass. It is no wonder that the ideas proposed by Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Philosophy, and more specifically in my own work an aesthetic causality, have begun to appeal to architecture.

Object-Orientated Philosophy, more commonly know as Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), has arisen as the alternative to a scientific simplification [Real] and the hyper-conceptualisation [Sensual] reality of objects, both of which architecture has become guilty of encouraging through our most prolific objects [Buildings]. The need to be able to both scientifically or conceptually justify architecture runs counterintuitive to OOO, As Harman explains, “We can only be hunters of objects, and must even be non-lethal hunters, since objects can never be caught.”[2] Imagine that we might instead hunt our architecture in this non-lethal manner, what new forms, relationships and realities would we start to uncover if we chose to step away from the constant need to analyse the minute details of our caught prey? For “Architecture is not a crime and architects need no alibi.”[3]

[1] Mark Foster Gage, (2015). ‘Killing Simplicity: Object-Oriented Philosophy In Architecture.’ Log, 33, p.101
[2] Graham Harman, (2012). The Third Table: 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts: Documenta Series 085. Bilingual
Edition. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, p12
[3] Mark Foster Gage, (2015). ‘Killing Simplicity: Object-Oriented Philosophy In Architecture.’ Log, 33, p.106