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Architecture's Historical TurnPhenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern$

Jorge Otero-Pailos

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816666034

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816666034.001.0001

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A Polygraph of Architectural Phenomenology

A Polygraph of Architectural Phenomenology

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter One A Polygraph of Architectural Phenomenology
Source:
Architecture's Historical Turn
Author(s):

Jorge Otero-Pailos

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816666034.003.0001

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes a polygraphic historiographic method aimed at uncovering how architectural phenomenology gained coherence. By foregrounding the social and generational struggles, it seeks to reclaim a space for individual agency in the history of postmodern architecture’s intellectual development. It focuses on the discursive heat created by the frictions between protagonists and how it changed the state of what was considered legitimate intellectual work in architecture. The chapter also expands the chronology of the intellectual history of postmodern architecture back to the postwar period when it began to cohere into a recognizably new way of approaching the questions of history and theory.

Keywords:   postmodern architecture, architectural phenomenology, polygraphic historiography, intellectual history

The nature of architectural phenomenology makes it challenging to historicize. That it presented itself as a new way of doing architectural history requires that one contend with its historiographical conventions without succumbing to them. Yet after architectural phenomenology, it is not possible to simply approach it through the traditional historiographical frameworks it undermined and reconfigured. Its very nature and legacy defy that operation. It disappears under the lenses of architectural histories based on personal biography, selfidentified groups, individual schools, institutions, geopolitical borders, or architectural styles.

To uncover how architectural phenomenology gained coherence requires a new critical historiography capable of moving between aesthetic interpretations and intellectual and social history. What normally passes as the intellectual history of architecture is seldom more than snapshots that capture an architect’s definition of architecture at a particular point in time, which are then presented as “theories” of architecture and collected in edited volumes. Thus, intellectual history appears as an autonomous and transcendent system with a magical capacity to transform itself. Each new “theory” appears to have descended from another pure world of ideas (e.g., the world of philosophy) and caused an epistemological break with how architecture was conceived in the past. But so-called epistemological shifts are the product of changes in the relationships between individual agents, each of whom is motivated by the expectation of being rewarded for effecting change. Individual agency both forms and is formed by the discipline in which it operates. By exposing the different motivations and capacities that led each protagonist to weave together the thematic strands of experience, history, and theory that made up architectural phenomenology, the chapters that follow draw forth the connected web of social, aesthetic, and intellectual dimensions that gave coherence to this discourse, without losing sight of the particular contributions of each person.

(p.2) My historiographic method, which I describe as polygraphic, differs fundamentally from monographic historiography. The latter has dealt with the question of contemporary architecture in one of two ways: by focusing on individuals or on self-identified groups. When writing the history of architecture, we must be careful not to unwittingly fall into the monographic trap toward which we are gently predisposed by the records, already prepared and packaged monographically for us, by symposium organizers and self-selected groups of architects. That some architects, at one point in time, thought it advantageous to portray themselves as a group, does not necessarily mean that we must take them at their word, or that the monograph is the best way of capturing a chapter in the history of architectural ideas. Selection and self-selection are related social phenomena, but they are not the same thing, and it is important not to unwittingly conflate the two.

The conflation I am arguing against is the kind perpetrated by historians who choose to limit their writing to self-selected groups of architects (e.g., CIAM, GATEPAC, Team X, Archigram). In such cases, the historiographical operation of selection follows the contours of the architects’ self-selection. There are some benefits to a historiography that shadows self-selection. One advantage for the historian is the appearance that an objective, self-evident selection has been made. When applied to intellectual history, the historian describes an idea that was explicitly embraced by a group of architects, which shows that idea to have common currency. In the latter half of the twentieth century, countless architectural groups formed to uphold specific ideas. But a library full of books dedicated to each of these groups in isolation would not begin to approximate the transformation of architectural intellectuality that took place during that period.

The historiographical conflation of selection and self-selection clearly has its benefits, but it also has its downsides, especially in regard to intellectual history. A major drawback is that it must remain silent before ideas shared among nonaffiliated individuals and cannot explain what gives intellectual coherence to the larger field of architecture. The monographic selection of self-selected groups skews the portrayal of the intellectual field in favor of the exceptional and the intentional. It also wrongly identifies the particular views of small groups with the entire field. Ideas that might have been commonly shared and debated among architects, yet for one reason or another were not explicitly espoused or renounced by a self-selected group, get relegated to a second plane. Thus, what is central to the field as a whole is rendered as peripheral and is loosely portrayed as context.

(p.3) Monographic historiography is so deeply engrained in architectural history that it exerts its force in ways that are often hard to see because they have become so conventional that they appear natural. When historians of postwar architecture working within the monographic tradition moved beyond the study of isolated groups, they searched for common causes and assumed common effects. That is the case in recent attempts to describe postwar architectural discourse in terms of institutions, changes in government policies, or the advent of new media technologies such as television. While these analytical frameworks are indeed important, focusing on them in isolation unwittingly perpetuates the sort of positivist historiography initiated in 1864 by Hippolyte Taine (1828–1893), who introduced the ideas of Auguste Comte (1798–1857) to the architectural history curriculum of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Taine attempted to make history of architecture courses more scientific by adopting the positivist methods of sociology. Although Taine did not rule out artistic genius, he thought individual talent played only a minor role in the production of buildings. The architect’s expressive range was limited by larger causes such as race, environment, and time. Each of these categories was broken down into smaller classifications. The influence of family, national customs, religion, prevailing intellectual conditions, building traditions, the region’s mean temperature, its percentage of sunshine, position above or below sea-level, precise latitude and longitude, all were necessary knowledge for the historian, whose task, Taine explained, was to demonstrate how these infinite causes determined the combined effect: the building.1 Taine’s historiography was appealing because it seems to account for the relationship of the individual architect to the collective.

The positivist emphasis on history as a scientific recounting of the circumstances affecting the architect downplayed, or even repressed, the agency of the architect, the subjective element involved in interpreting those facts. By the early twentieth century, phenomenologists had called into question the strict separation between subject and object presupposed by French positivism. José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), a Spanish student of Heidegger, advanced such a critique in 1932 with his famous university lectures on Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). He argued that facts acquire meaning only in relation to life projects. “Reality is not a fact, something given, gifted—rather it is a construction that man makes with the given material.”2 Put simply, our circumstances become our reality only through our interpretations.

The phenomenological critique of positivism is well known by now. But surprisingly, it was not fully assimilated within architectural historiography. For (p.4) instance, architectural historians continue to impose order on the history of architecture by culling lists of historic buildings simply on the basis of their date of construction. They might, for instance, group together buildings built during the Victorian decades or the postwar decades. At first glance such historiographical groupings appear logical, since buildings can be said to be contemporary when they occur together in time. But on closer scrutiny, the groupings cease to make sense.

Generations

Identifying what is historical on the basis of chronology gives the appearance of historical unity but actually skirts the question of what is the nature of the historical period. To understand historical periods we cannot follow an absolutely regular chronological stream (i.e., year by year, or decade by decade). We must take into account the individual, and indeed the social, experiences of time. Historical time is qualified by ruptures and discontinuities that are chronologically irregular. One cannot decide a priori when postmodern architecture began and ended. The limits must be established from the point of view of those within postmodern architecture. By definition, that will never be one individual, so the historian cannot become the sole spokesperson for the collective.

In order to contextualize individual points of view within a collective framework, historians have modulated their chronological boundaries to coincide with political or cultural events. For example, the history of postwar architecture has been variously organized to fit within the years from the end of World War II to the student revolts of 1968 or to the 1972 oil crisis. Such periodizations allow historians to group together unaffiliated architects on the basis that they were all equal participants in the same society. In order to make such groupings, they must also make fundamental assumptions about how individuals relate to society. For instance, they must assume that all architects experience social events uniquely, with each person’s experience being completely different from the next. Ortega y Gasset maintained that this assumption was not entirely true.3 Although he respected the idea that every individual experiences reality uniquely (i.e., everyone is in his or her personal world), he also noted that not every experience of reality was possible at any time. After Galileo’s interpretation of Copernican astrology, the medieval interpretation of the world as the center of the universe was anachronistic. Individual interpretations were circumscribed to worldviews that were historically (p.5) determined. Since only a certain number of people were alive at any one time, interpretations were also generational.

Ortega y Gasset referred to these generational worldviews as “interindividual” phenomena, which he situated as interpretative hinges between individuals and the larger society in which multiple generations struggled for control.4 As opposed to sociologists like Georg Simmel (1858–1918) and Max Weber (1864–1920), who described society as the combined effect of interpersonal exchanges, Ortega y Gasset viewed society as preexisting the personal interactions of any single generation. For him, society was there, manifested through customs (or uses)—what is said, believed, and done by people, by anyone, by no one individual specifically. Society was a structure of possible positions and attitudes that were ontologically impersonal, but which people could assume or take up. Individuals were born into societies that imposed a system of customs on them, and each person could freely accept or reject them. But their choices had consequences, since social efficiency required that dissent be repressed and punished.

Ortega y Gasset argued that people’s choices in relation to the customs they encountered were inflected by their generational worldview. The same action would have a different historical value and meaning depending on one’s generation. That is to say, a person’s generation provided the first order of historical structure in his or her interpretation of customs. This elucidation had important implications for historiography: a historian writing about an event would have to take into account the multiplicity of generational perspectives from which that event acquired historical meaning. To account for changes in social customs, or for the transition from one historical era to the next, Ortega y Gasset thought that historians needed to look closer at the struggles between generations. Without a grounding in this generational struggle, macrohistorical changes would appear to happen magically, as if propelled by an impersonal will or spirit.

In “today,” in every “today” coexist, therefore, various articulated generations and the relations that are established between them, according to the condition of their ages, represent a dynamic system, of attractions and repulsions, of coincidence and polemic, which constitute in every instant the reality of historic life. And the idea of generations, converted into a method for historical investigation, consists only in projecting that structure upon the past.5

Following Ortega y Gasset’s argument, in order to grasp architectural phenomenology, we would have to begin by asking: under what conditions, (p.6) by whom, and for whom was architecture interpreted as an experience? The selection of the protagonists of this book begins to answer this question, by narrowing the field of study to Moore, Norberg-Schulz and Frampton, members of the same postwar generation whose work was defined by their contacts with architectural discourse in the United States. Labatut stands out as a member of the previous generation, providing access to the background of discourses out of which architectural phenomenology was formed, and which it transformed.

Currency

To begin to account for how generational perspectives inflected the meaning and structure of architectural phenomenology, we must first reconsider the term “contemporary.” Rather than a stable period of time (i.e., today, the present), it is an unstable category whose contents are constantly changing in relation to the tensions and power relations between different generations of architects. For a building to appear contemporary to an architect it must respond to what is current and relevant to his or her generation. What is current is what every architect must take as a given: the customs inherited as impositions from previous generations that every architect must count on in order to operate, whether he or she accepts them or rejects them. What is current can be defined as the set of buildings, ideas, practices, social positions (e.g., the master architect, the young architect, the star architect, the critic, the curator, the enthusiast), and institutions that together form the cultural order of the discipline of architecture. What is current is important because it is the system of significance within which architectural works acquire meaning as contemporary.

What constitutes the reality of architecture is nothing more than a palimpsest of interpretations handed down to us, with which we must contend. What we deem to be architectural phenomenology is there as a function of what happened before. The sources of the beliefs, opinions, and forms of practice are found in the past. At the same time, these sources are seldom recognized as sources at all, but rather experienced as norms, pressures, and possibilities that condition current practice and restrict its future.

The generational struggle over the definition of architectural history is waged through interpretations, which are the tools and stakes of the battle. I use the term “interpretation” here in contradistinction to “theory,” which in my view is too restrictive to capture the wide range of practices that fell within the realm of intellectuality in architecture since World War II. An interpretation is what (p.7) makes architecture appear as cultural work. Interpretation can take the form of a written document, a drawing, a picture or a photo essay, a movie, a scaled model, a full-scale building, an exhibition, a class syllabus, a teaching curriculum, and countless other forms. The notion of interpretation attends to the multiple media of architectural intellectuality without giving any one primacy. One could say that there is no mother tongue to architectural communication. Rather, interpretations function as seizures of power, as ways to gain cultural capital and to take up a position within politically charged disciplinary multiplicities.

Positions

For instance, a successful interpretation, like Intentions in Architecture, allowed a young architect like Norberg-Schulz to seize the position of architectural historian. Interpretations are both instruments through which architects achieve their positions and also the measure of their investment in those positions. An architect’s interpretation, say Intentions in Architecture, always intends a particular position, in this case that of architectural historian. To take that position, Norberg-Schulz’s book had to display the forms and conventions expected of that position, such as a central thesis, a logical exposition of ideas, footnotes, good-quality photographs, and the imprint of a reputable publisher. The value of that book, as a measure of Norberg-Schulz’s investment in the position of architectural historian, depended on its publication and reception. Hence the importance of people involved in interpreting interpretations, for they remade the book a thousand times and gave it cultural value in the process.

To speak of the multiple agents involved in producing cultural works does not take anything away from the work of Norberg-Schulz, it simply puts it in context. In fact, many architectural phenomenologists openly embraced the idea that the production of architecture was a collaboration. Frampton, for instance, particularly valued the work of photographers in shaping the aesthetics of his interpretations.

All this points to the need for a new historiography capable of grasping the instability and mutability of architectural intellectuality, but that does not seek the cause of its changes only in the macrocollective or in the microindividual. Some historians have taken this step.6 They have moved beyond the monograph and have begun to experiment with a polygraphic historiography, simultaneously describing the work of multiple architects from contemporaneous generations and mapping their operations through institutional networks. (p.8) Polygraphic historiography does not limit itself to architects who formed groups. Rather it studies the struggle between generations, unveiling the systems of significance that framed their respective historical understandings of architecture, and highlighting the resonance and similitude among different architects’ responses to the same circumstances. Polygraphic historiography relates the social to the biographical but also provides a better account of the many layers that mediate between these two poles.

One of those layers is the field of architecture itself, the primary interest of architects and architectural historians alike. The field of architecture is not reducible to any one person nor extendable to the whole of society. Polygraphic historiography draws critically on Michel Foucault’s (1926–1984) conceptualization of disciplines as an elusive middle layer between the individual and the collective. It also incorporates Theodor Adorno’s (1903–1969) analysis of how cultural works function as mediators between social ideology and personal life. It engages and develops both of these intellectual precedents along the lines set forth by Pierre Bourdieu’s (1930–2002) notion of the fields of cultural production.7 He conceived fields as disciplinary microcosms within society, with their own structures, laws, and membership.8 He defined them as social and intellectual spaces articulated into limited numbers of positions (the orthodox master architect, the heretical young challenger) through the unequal distribution of cultural capital. To take up a particular position, say, the position of architectural historian, one had to have amassed a certain amount of cultural capital by earning the recognition of other historians, architects, critics, students, and the like. Bourdieu likened fields to games, governed by rules that limited the number of positions and possible moves. To be in a field one had to believe it was a game worth playing. For Bourdieu this belief, which he called illusio, was what kept fields operating, people playing, and cultural capital flowing.

According to Bourdieu, people were predisposed toward particular fields and illusios through habits acquired in the course of life. The habitus, to use Bourdieu’s term, was an important mediating layer between the individual and the collective. It functioned as a structuring structure, a lifelong disposition or second nature where society and the individual intersected dynamically.9 Habitus was therefore doubly historical, combining the evolving histories of the individual and the group. It set limits to one’s expectations and explained how behavior could be regular without being the direct product of obedience to regulations. Bourdieu’s concept of habitus came close to Ortega y Gasset’s notion of generation, although Bourdieu did not study him. Indeed, both the (p.9) habitus and the generation described an interindividual phenomenon (neither personal nor collective), which both authors defined as the effect and structure of the social and historical struggle between individuals. Yet both concepts had different emphases. Habitus stressed the importance of fields of cultural production, something Ortega y Gasset did not consider in depth. The idea of generation weighed the biological and existential limits of life, something Bourdieu did not sufficiently address in accounting for changes in the cultural order of fields.

The combination of both ideas into what could be called a generational habitus provides the access point into the reality that a polygraphic historiography seeks to uncover: the field of architecture. Polygraphic historiography remains an experiment, the soundness of which can only be gauged by the results. For the moment, it allows the rediscovery of architectural phenomenology as the effect of a collective struggle among a number of contemporary architects to impose their generational habitus.

Through close reading of each individual’s writings and architectural designs, a larger constellation of related buildings, texts, and disciplines appears as the context within which they acquired meaning. For instance, Labatut’s tactile and inviting treatment of concrete in his Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (Princeton, New Jersey, 1963) was understood to mean a reaction against the monumental visual patterning of concrete in brutalist works such as Paul Rudolph’s Yale Art and Architecture School (New Haven, Connecticut, 1958–64). As a function of his exchanges with philosopher Jacques Maritain, Labatut’s tactile concrete was also interpreted in religious terms as providing a spiritual experience of connection to Christ, who stood as a cipher of the ahistorical constant of architecture that architectural phenomenologists were after.

Interdisciplinarity

The formation of architectural phenomenology involved architecture and philosophy coming into relations of mutual exchange and resonance, while maintaining disciplinary autonomy. Interdisciplinarity appears driven by the agency of individuals who were motivated by the structure of challenges and rewards internal to each of their fields. The architect wrote for architecture and the philosopher for philosophy, even when they addressed each other. To explain the simultaneous but autonomous coexistence of these works one cannot rely exclusively on notions of philosophy’s influence, or ideas of cause and effect. (p.10) Architectural phenomenology was relatively autonomous from philosophy. It operated inside the discipline of architecture, with objectives and aspirations that drew on the long traditions of modernism.

I treat Labatut, Moore, Norberg-Schulz, and Frampton as protagonists of architectural phenomenology in recognition that they played a leading role in an intellectual history that was also shaped by many other actors. The word protagonist derives from the ancient Greek words (proto), meaning first, and (agonist), which referred to a combatant in the games, a contender for prizes. The intellectual history of architecture during the so-called postmodern period was a struggle among many agents of one generation competing to be recognized as protagonists, as victors in the struggle over their previous generation. In intellectual terms, to dominate the struggle was to be recognized as being more influential than the rest, as having the authority to define architecture.

In the context of the emerging interest among 1950s architects in architectural history, Labatut, Moore, Norberg-Schulz, and Frampton established their difference by taking up a new position, that of the architect-historian, which enabled them to appropriate all the marks of intellectual distinction associated with the textual instruments and institutions of architectural history.10 Unlike previous generations of architects-turned-historians, these architecthistorians did not renounce their identity as architects in order to appropriate architectural history. Rather, they openly sought to reclaim architectural history for architectural practice, believing that their competence in the intellectual rules of architectural design enabled them to produce better architectural history than art historians. The stubbornness with which these architects insisted that they were “still” architects, regardless of the fact that they were no longer designing or building buildings, slowly began to change the entire cultural order of architecture.

Changes in architecture’s cultural order were first felt in the academy. Above all, architectural phenomenology was an escalation in the intellectualization of architecture. Before the establishment of PhD programs in architecture schools, scholarly intellectual work was taught in architectural history courses by art historians, who resisted the encroachment of architects. The confrontation with art history—which played itself out in the corridors of academe—forced an escalation of the scholarly standards of architecture. Labatut led the charge at Princeton University, where in 1949 he founded the first PhD in Architecture program for what he called “architect-scholars,” explicitly excluding art historians. (p.11) Moore was one of the program’s first graduates. The invocation of phenomenology helped architects leverage the academic credibility of philosophy against art historians. It was a response to the hostility of art historians in the form of a new type of discourse by architects and for architects that privileged the authority of architects to speak about architectural history. They resisted the mediation of art history to understand what they felt was their own tradition. They even saw their experientialism as an alternative method for comprehending historic buildings, claiming that architects were best suited to properly understand historic buildings because they inherently understood the expressive intentions of the design. Phenomenology was the touchstone of this discourse: it made it possible to argue that architecture was based on a timeless sensual “language” of immediate experiences that architects could intuit across the spans of time.

The success of architect-historians like Norberg-Schulz and Frampton to take over academic posts traditionally occupied by art historians speaks to the power of architectural phenomenology. They reinvented the job description of architectural historian according to their architectural dispositions. As a result, historiography became more architectural—displacing the traditional centrality of the written word in historiography. In their architectural history books, the clarity of the visual argument, conveyed through page layouts, illustrations, and photographs, became as important as the textual claims.

With its emphasis on the direct experience of buildings, architectural phenomenology protected the long-standing modernist belief that the intellectual content of architecture was not expressible in words alone. That is to say, the intellectual content of architecture had to be translatable, for lack of a better word, into an aesthetic form, and vice versa. But how could the writing and understanding of architectural history, which was understood to be a purely intellectual endeavor, be translated into an aesthetic? Architectural phenomenology was a search to find the key to that translation. Labatut, Moore, Norberg-Schulz, and Frampton thought they found that key in sensual experience, which they cast as the ordering logic behind both the intellectual and aesthetic realms. In their hands, architectural history was recast into the experiential content of architecture. The richness of architectural history became an experience to be introduced as the new content of postwar modern architecture, which appeared to them as experientially dull and empty.

Once established in powerful positions of authority within prestigious universities, architect-historians began to challenge the cultural authority traditionally associated with the professional architect. The established disciplinary (p.12) lines separating producers (architects) and consumers (historians) of architecture became contested, leading to oppositions and antagonisms over the nature of architectural intellectuality that were not immediately resolved. Architecthistorians became influential spokespersons for the intellectualization of architecture and custodians of a new architectural cultural order. They not only helped to establish the official understanding of what constitutes intellectual work in architecture, but also played a subtler historical role: as some of the most educated and cosmopolitan products of the modern movement, they were the point men of the momentous intellectual changes that took place in the 1970s. They were among the first to experience and articulate the intellectual dilemmas and aesthetic problems that came to define the period of postmodernism.

Labatut, Moore, Norberg-Schulz, and Frampton exalted direct experience as the historic content of buildings. Their search to recover the fullness and historicity of architectural experience led them to phenomenological philosophy, including the ideas of Gaston Bachelard, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martin Heidegger, Paul Ricoeur, and Hannah Arendt, among others, which they translated for architectural audiences. The degree to which their understanding of phenomenology was philosophically correct is not my focus. Rather, I am interested in their recognition of a certain homology between the architectural discourses on experience and history and the treatment of those two concepts within phenomenology. This homology enabled them to superimpose phenomenological notions of experience and history onto an existing architectural discourse in a way that made the philosophy seem like a natural extension, or even a clarification, of long-established architectural ideas. While a presentation of phenomenology is beyond the scope of this study, it is nevertheless important to remark on how the understanding of experience and history evolved within it. The discussion must be limited to those major features judged to be relevant from the standpoint of the development of architectural phenomenology. We must bear in mind that in its more than a century of existence, the phenomenological movement has taken root around the world and developed into numerous branches, including Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, Heidegger’s hermeneutic ontology, Sartre’s existentialism, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of embodiment, Arendt’s phenomenology of the public sphere, Ricoeur’s eschatological phenomenology, Levinas’s phenomenology of alterity, and countless other equally important offshoots. Not all of these branches have been equally relevant to architectural phenomenology. Sartre and Levinas, for instance, did not attract as much interest as Heidegger and Arendt. The reasons (p.13) for the uneven architectural investment in these branches have as much to do with the details of personal life, such as Vesely recommending that Frampton read Ricoeur, as with the fact that questions about the nature of human experience and history seemed central to the postwar reconstruction efforts, and later to the rise of mass consumer culture, drawing architects unevenly toward those philosophers who had most clearly elucidated those questions. Alas, the fine distinctions drawn by historians of phenomenology between its branches were not heeded within architectural phenomenology. For instance, Gaston Bachelard was a major reference in architectural phenomenology despite the fact that Herbert Spiegelberger excluded him from his definitive historical study, The Phenomenological Movement, on the basis that his philosophy of action opposed Husserl’s pure phenomenology and its attendant notions of philosophical contemplation.11 Whether Hannah Arendt’s philosophical method can be considered phenomenological is the subject of ongoing debate. While Spiegelberger did not even mention her, Dermot Moran’s more recent Introduction to Phenomenology has reclaimed a central place for her within the movement.12

Architects were less concerned with the internal struggles for legitimacy within the phenomenological movement. As early as 1964, Frampton had adopted Arendt’s phenomenology of the public sphere as a touchstone of his own understanding of architectural experience and its historicity. That said, Frampton’s rethinking of architectural history in terms of experience was very different from Arendt’s pursuits. It would be unfair, and indeed misguided, to judge Frampton’s architectural work by the standards of philosophy. To give primacy to philosophy would be to deny the unique disciplinary stakes with which architects had to contend and to miss the rich, changing history of the architectural understanding of intellectuality. Whereas in philosophy intellectuality was traditionally equated with mental acts, in architecture intellectuality was a far more ambiguous realm involving the mind certainly, but also various bodily practices such as drawing, photographing, model-making, graphic design, and building construction. The advent of phenomenology, with its critique of subject-object dualisms and its radical conceptions of embodied knowledge, was for architects like a resonating chamber in which they recognized the intellectual features of architectural practice amplified within the legitimizing space of philosophy. Phenomenology made architects more aware, reflective, and self-confident about the nature of their intellectuality. They also became more experimental, and it is that intellectual experimentation that is the focus of the present study. Looking upon architectural history as the cultural standard of (p.14) intellectuality in architecture, architectural phenomenologists probed its methods and conventions, experimenting with new forms of historiography that incorporated photography, graphic design, and buildings themselves into alternative ways of constructing, even experiencing, the historic content of architecture. It was the belief in a link between experience and history that brought architects into a relationship of resonance with phenomenology. With its architectural homologies in mind, we can now turn to the particular way in which phenomenologists articulated the connection between experience and history.

Experience and History

The word experience is commonly used to signify a wide range meanings, from the events that have taken place within the knowledge of a community, as in “the American experience,” to the skills acquired in the course of working and practicing in a particular field, as in “she has architectural experience,” to the fact of being consciously the subject of a state or condition, or of being affected by an event, as in “I experience discomfort sitting on this chair.” This latter sense of conscious experience was the initial focus of phenomenology.

Founded by Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) at the dawn of the twentieth century, phenomenology began as an attempt to provide a description of experience free from prejudice. Husserl believed that previous philosophical accounts of experience, such as those offered by rationalism, empiricism, positivism, or sensationalism, had employed extraneous analytical frameworks borrowed from science, religion, and even folk traditions, which distorted a pure consideration of experience as it is given to consciousness. If experience, as the conscious observation of facts or events, was considered a source of knowledge, then a prejudiced account of experience would inevitably lead to distorted notions of epistemology and to inherently flawed philosophical systems. Husserl rejected traditional representational accounts of knowledge as inner mental copies of outside reality, contained within the mind as if in a box, and presented to consciousness for inspection. Instead, he maintained that a proper description of the knowledge gained through experience must account for the fact that it presents itself to consciousness in the process of interacting with the world, and as an engagement with our environment: “Experience is the performance in which for me, the experiencer, experienced being ‘is there,’ and is there as what it is, with the whole content and mode of being that experience itself, by the performance going on its intentionality, attributes to it.”13 Husserl’s famous (p.15) exhortation, “Back to the things themselves,”14 became the clarion call of phenomenology, defining it as an attempt to describe things, or phenomena, in the manner in which they appear, that is, as they manifest themselves to consciousness through and in experience.

Husserl’s great philosophical achievement was what he called the phenomenological reduction (from the Latin reducere, to lead back), a method for peeling back all the layers of encrusted philosophical traditions and metaphysical assumptions about the nature of experience and arriving at a description of it free from any presupposition. In his essay “Philosophy as Rigorous Science” (1911), Husserl called these layers of bias the “natural attitude.”15 The term referred to the scientific assumption that everything in the world is either physical or psychic, and hence should be explored merely by the natural sciences, including psychology. The natural attitude was the common assumption made about the nature of existence when relating to matters of fact, processes, practical aspects, values, other persons, social institutions, and cultural creations. The problem with the natural attitude was that it left no room for ideal entities such as meanings or laws as such, which can only be experienced in conscious acts. The natural attitude denied the reality of consciousness and yet was based on assuming the existence of consciousness to give rise to its picture of reality in the first place. This contradiction made it clear that the natural attitude was nonsensical, and that it lacked a radical questioning of its own presuppositions. The phenomenological reduction entailed “bracketing” the natural attitude from the philosophical description of experience, allowing the philosopher to suspend naturalistic claims about existence while investigating the experience itself—like a jury that is asked to focus exclusively on the evidence and to suspend the kinds of associations and inferences made in everyday life. After the bracketing of particular facts and claims about the actual existence of the things experienced, the philosopher directed a glance through reflection at what was left of the experience in all its aspects in order to intuit what he called its eidetic essence. In this sense, the phenomenological reduction signaled an important shift in emphasis from experience to intuition as the apodictic ground of phenomenological work:

[The scientific investigator of nature] observes and experiments; that is, he ascertains factual existence according to experience; for him experiencing is a grounding act which can never be substituted by a mere imagining. And this is precisely why science of matters of fact and experimental science are (p.16) equivalent concepts. But for the geometer who explores not actualities but “ideal possibilities,” not predicatively formed actuality-complexes, but predicatively formed eidictic affair-complexes, the ultimately grounding act is not experience but rather the seeing of essences.16

To intuit something is to apprehend it directly, without recourse to reasoning processes such as deduction or induction. Intuition was, for Husserl, how the a priori structures that gave experiences their meaning appeared immediately to pure consciousness. This focus on intuition was the basis for Husserl’s definition of his work as “transcendental” or “pure” phenomenology, in the sense that it concerned itself strictly with the realm of pure consciousness or the transcendental ego.

Husserl’s thinking about essences as a priori structures from which all meaning derives owed its indebtedness to Kant, and his search for the apodictic ground of consciousness came very much out of his long engagement with Descartes.17 But Husserl’s refusal to give up the world of immediate experience to sheer abstractions also differentiated him from the rationalist Cartesian tradition. In fact, Husserl was part of a generation of philosophers who first began to move beyond rationalism and metaphysics through renewed accounts of lived experience, including William James (1842–1910), founder of pragmatism, Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911), who advanced the philosophy of life, and Henri Bergson (1859–1941), who initiated modern process philosophy. That these philosophical schools shared a belief in the central role of intuition in grasping lived experience has sometimes led to their conflation. “Indeed,” writes Moran, “the prevalence of notions of intuition as a kind of spiritual sympathy with the object of knowledge has often led to phenomenology being widely misunderstood as a form of irrational mysticism.”18

This conflation was exacerbated within architectural discourse. Even the most sophisticated architectural phenomenologists, like the protagonists of this book, tended to draw freely from unrelated philosophical schools in their descriptions of architectural experience. Norberg-Schulz, who was as intellectually rigorous as any architectural phenomenologist, nevertheless conflated Bergson and Heidegger in his first attempts at describing architectural experience. Intentions in Architecture, for instance, described the experience of architecture as a phenomenal totality in terms of Heidegger’s notion of beingin-the-world, while claiming that the experience could only be properly grasped through Bergson’s notion of intuitive cognition.19 Labatut’s own thinking about (p.17) architectural experiences also involved placing a heavy premium on intuition, which he understood through the lenses of Bergson and his neo-Thomist friend Jacques Maritain.20 Clearly, if we judge architectural phenomenology by the standards and schools of philosophical discourse, we will be forced to conclude that it was guilty of sloppy talk. But it would be counterproductive to give primacy to philosophy if our purpose is to grasp architectural phenomenology in its own terms. We must accept that architectural phenomenology entered into a relationship of resonance with the ideas of philosophers whose appurtenance to phenomenology is debated, like Bachelard or Arendt, and others, like Bergson or Maritain, who are clearly outside of the phenomenological school. Architectural phenomenology grew with an intellectual heterogeneity that would be anathema to philosophy. But it kept phenomenology as its central reference point. The Husserlian notion of intuition, as variously reconfigured by his followers, was another important common intellectual thread binding together the work of architectural phenomenologists. Intuition served as an apotropaic concept, warding off claims that knowledge of buildings could be gained only through rational methods, and preserving a subjective kernel in the study of architecture, especially during McCarthyism, when architects felt most pressured to construe their discipline as purely objective and scientific. More importantly, the stress placed on intuition also led architectural phenomenologists to question traditional historiography, especially its circumscription to so-called objective facts and documents as the basis for its historical knowledge about buildings. Architectural phenomenologists posited that a more profound or essential historical knowledge of buildings could be intuited in direct experiences. Their belief that experience should be the foundation of architectural history gained intellectual legitimacy as it resonated with phenomenological descriptions of the historicity of experience, especially those put forth by Heidegger.

“Before Heidegger,” wrote Spiegelberg, “phenomenologists had attached only limited and secondary importance to the problem of history.”21 In Husserl’s programmatic manifesto for phenomenology, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science,” there was even a stern critique of historicism as one of the many contemporary forms of relativism. Husserl maintained that mere historical facts could not prove or disprove the validity of any kind of true knowledge. By contrast, history and historiography were some of Heidegger’s major interests. During his early years as a Catholic seminarian, he had immersed himself in historical studies of Thomism, and later he turned more directly to the theories of writing history along the lines of Dilthey—the target of Husserl’s attacks. Heidegger’s (p.18) engagement and transformation of Husserl’s phenomenology is a subject beyond the scope of the present study.22 But in order to touch upon his conception of the relationship between experience and history, it is helpful to bear in mind that Heidegger disagreed with Husserl’s insistence on bracketing all concerns with actual existence in order to proceed with the phenomenological description of experience. He criticized Husserl for having prioritized the realm of the theoretical over the lived moment in experience and for fleeing historical “factical” existence in favor of a transcendental idealism.23 Husserl’s account of the human experience of the world remained too Cartesian and too intellectualist for Heidegger.24 After a decade struggling with Husserl’s thinking, Heidegger eventually became convinced that the only way to avoid the pitfalls of his predecessor’s thinking was to drop the use of his terminology altogether. In Being and Time (1927), he abandoned words like “consciousness” and “intentionality” and replaced them with Dasein (being there), which he described as always experiencing a certain mood, caught up in projects within a world in which it found itself thrown. As can be surmised from the title of the book, Heidegger provided a phenomenological description of the relation between Dasein (a particular being) and Being itself, and then turned to describe Dasein and his relation to temporality. Heidegger’s ultimate aim was ontological: to investigate “the question of Being”25 as it appeared in human experience. Indeed, one of the fundamental insights of the book was that Dasein’s experiences of Being were given in time, because Dasein is a mortal being whose existence is temporally bound, and that therefore the experience of Being appeared differently to Dasein at different times, depending on many things ranging from Dasein’s mood to the particular cultural assumptions about Being current during the particular historical period in which Dasein happened to live. Heidegger’s recognition that both experience and the philosophical insights derived from it were historically given flew in the face of traditional metaphysics, showing the belief that the structure of Being was timeless and self-same to be based on faulty premises. He showed traditional metaphysical accounts of Being to be historical sedimentations of everyday assumptions about reality, which distorted as much as revealed true insights into the nature of Being. Against teleological notions of historical progress, Heidegger showed that human experiences and knowledge of Being waxed and waned in different historical periods, so that it might in fact be more difficult to authentically experience Being now than in the past. Indeed, he viewed the modern era as a dark time when the experience of Being had become mostly concealed to Dasein, receding (p.19) behind veils of rationalist and scientific prejudice. Heidegger’s search to experience Being necessarily involved his own critical confrontation with his historical moment in particular and with modernity in general.26 His solution was to advance a radical phenomenological interpretation of the experience of Being, called hermeneutic ontology, that took into account the fact that interpretation cannot be a neutral, detached, theoretical contemplation, but rather must consider the involvement of the inquirer in the inquiry. Being and Time presented just such an interpretation of how the structures of Being can be revealed only through the temporal structures of human existence. Heidegger’s description of human experience, as always already structured by its “historicality,”27 was a defining turn within phenomenology, which had a long-lasting impact on his students’ work, as in Hannah Arendt’s phenomenological description of the history of the concept of history,28 or in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s study of the origin of the idea of history as it appeared within German philosophy,29 and it has remained influential to this day.

Heidegger’s critique of modernity, and his attempt to recover an original premodern experience of Being from under the weight of philosophical tradition, was also enormously appealing to architects during the postwar years, as it resonated with their own attempts to get beyond modern architecture by dismantling the concepts for which it stood, such as the Miesian notion of universal abstract space. “After the publication of Martin Heidegger’s Building, Dwelling, Thinking in 1954,” wrote Frampton, “it was natural that the Enlightenment category of spatium in extenso or limitless space should come to be challenged in architectural thought by the more archaic notion of Raum or place.”30 Norberg-Schulz attempted his own Heideggerian description of the experience of place in Existence, Space and Architecture (1971).31 The word “place” was the subject of much debate in architectural discourse during the 1960s and 1970s,32 and by the 1980s it had become widely used to denote a postmodernist sensitivity to the historical structuring of the experience of space. Yet within this new sensitivity toward history, architectural phenomenology also absorbed the Heideggerian thrust to dismantle historical traditions as a necessary clearing of the way toward a more authentic experience of history. Thus, architectural phenomenologists deemed it necessary to strike against what they saw as the encrusted tradition of architectural historiography in order to better appreciate the historical experiential content of architecture.

Heidegger’s appeal within architecture also had to do with the fact that some of his later writings, especially “Building Dwelling Thinking,” made direct (p.20) reference to architecture. The essay appeared in English in Poetry, Language, Thought (1971), a collection of essays in which Heidegger’s interest in architecture is shown to be really part of a wider attention to the experience of art. In essays such as “The Origin of the Work of Art,”33 Heidegger attributed a special ontological character to artworks—a category that included not just visual works, but also poetry. The experience of art was important because he regarded it as one of the rare instances when we come close to allowing ourselves to experience a thing for what it is, attending only to its phenomena in the manner in which they are given to us in experience, without imposing upon it the framework (das Gestell) of scientific or technological assumptions.34 The experience of art gave access to a type of poetic intuition of Being, which got covered up in ordinary experience and forms of speech. Heidegger described artworks as privileged things that worked on us by disclosing the truth of things. The idea that artworks set truth to work was taken into architectural phenomenology to ascribe a new cultural importance to architecture as a form of resistance to technological society. Frampton’s notion of critical regionalism as an arrière-garde position would not have been possible without also positing that the direct experience of buildings revealed truths about architecture that remained hidden from ordinary theoretical discourse. Directly appropriating Heidegger’s language, Norberg-Schulz argued that architecture “set-to-work” the environment in a way that revealed its truth poetically, and that, as such, building should take a central role in overcoming the technological exploitation of the natural environment.35

Other phenomenologists have also assigned a paradigmatic role to the experience of art in approaching phenomena without presuppositions, in their modes of givenness, to use Heidegger’s technical term. For example, Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of the experience of looking at Cézanne’s paintings were a touchstone of his phenomenological description of embodiment.36 However, Merleau-Ponty placed less emphasis on the historicity of experience, which partly explains why he was so influential for a second generation of architectural phenomenologists, including Steven Holl (b. 1947) and others,37 who were less concerned with questions of historiography, and who for this very reason remain outside the scope of this study. Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002) also gave primacy of place to the experience of art in his philosophy. His work is relevant for our purposes here because he, perhaps more than other students of Heidegger, attempted to relate the experience of art to history in his magnum opus Truth and Method (1960). The first half of the book is devoted to “The (p.21) Question of Truth as It Emerges in the Experience of Art,” in which he describes art as the site of unique truths not accessible through the normal methodology of the sciences. “Is there no knowledge in art?” he asked. “Does not the experience of art contain a claim to truth which is certainly different from that of science, but just as certainly is not inferior to it?”38 If art could reveal its truth in direct experience, then, according to Gadamer, one had to question the scientific belief that method is the royal road to truth. Without denying science, Gadamer wanted to expand the understanding of truth beyond the objective facts that were yielded by the narrow application of scientific method.

A proper phenomenological account of the sort of truth revealed in experiences of art required, according to Gadamer, a fundamental rethinking of the notion of tradition. For him, tradition was not just a willful prejudice distorting our access to truth. On the contrary, traditional prejudices were required, as platforms from which to launch our understanding of truth. Indeed, Gadamer wanted to rehabilitate tradition as the historical background against which our experiences are formed. “The overcoming of all prejudices,” he observed with regard to that basic principle of Enlightenment philosophy, “will itself prove to be a prejudice, and removing it opens the way to an appropriate understanding of the finitude which dominates not only our humanity but also our historical consciousness.”39

Gadamer introduced the concept of Bildung, translated as culture or cultivation, to refer to the process whereby tradition forms experience. The importance of cultivation lay in the development of a maturity of understanding, which came in the form of an almost intuitive cultural awareness—not scientific explanation. He noted that Bild, the German root of Bildung, means form, image, and more particularly picture. Art, as a capacity to form images or representations of experience, played a paradigmatic role in his description of Bildung. One’s cultural tradition was not something that could be checked at the door before experiencing a work of art. It was not external to the experience but an intrinsic part of the person experiencing and how he or she understood. Whatever truth was revealed in the experience of art appeared in and through one’s tradition and its prejudices, so that truth always involved a simultaneous revealing and concealing that was historically contingent. Further complicating matters, experiencing an artwork, say an ancient sculpture, sometimes also involved confronting another historical tradition, that of the artwork’s original moment of production. The experience of art therefore entailed a sort of confrontation of two traditions, or horizons of understanding. One’s own tradition (p.22) and prejudices provided the basis allowing us to begin trying to relate to what is both familiar and strange in the artwork. Gadamer called that mode of relating to artworks hermeneutics, from the Greek verb hermeneuin, meaning to interpret: “in its attempt to bring about a meaningful agreement between the two traditions … this kind of hermeneutics is still pursuing the task of all preceding hermeneutics, namely to bring about agreement in content.”40 Arising out of the description of the experience of art as paradigmatic of a nonscientific form of comprehension, the second part of Truth and Method provided a general theory of hermeneutics as an essential ontological structure of human understanding. This existential view of hermeneutics allowed Gadamer to extend the concept of truth in art to the meaning of the concept of truth in history. Writing history also involved moving in a hermeneutic circle between two traditions, one’s own and that in which the historical events took place. At every turn, Gadamer emphasized how interpretation was itself bound by historicality, at once formed by cultural tradition and re-forming it as it went: “Tradition is not simply a permanent precondition; rather, we produce it ourselves inasmuch as we understand, participate in the evolution of tradition, and hence further determine it ourselves.”41

Architectural phenomenology absorbed critical elements of Gadamer’s thinking. Significantly, Frampton’s definition of critical regionalism as a synthesis of universal rational industrial construction processes and local building cultures owed much to Gadamer’s description of reason as operating in and through tradition. In line with Gadamer’s notion of Bildung, Frampton defined architecture as not just building, but also as cultural “edification.”42 He also described architectural schools as “cultural regions” within which that edification took place: “it is precisely the self-cultivation of this region,” he wrote, “which will enable it to resist without falling either into reactionary hermeticism on the one hand or into the media juggernaut of universal civilization.”43

In sum, while modernist architectural discourses about experience, history, and theory were current in the postwar lead-up to postmodernism, the exposure to phenomenology set architectural phenomenologists to work accounting for one in terms of the other. Their efforts made postmodernism’s retrieval of history appear to be fundamentally bound up in the search for renewed experiences of architecture. In turn, these new experiences of architecture had to be formed out of the background of an existing tradition of architectural history, which, insofar as it identified objective historiographical methods as the basis of historical truth, impeded the recognition of subjectivity as playing (p.23) a central role in the interpretation of historic buildings and their truth content. Architectural phenomenologists launched their search for experience from the platform provided by the tradition of architectural historiography, but they remade that tradition, participating in its evolution by attending to the many ways in which subjectivity appeared within the cracks of its encrusted conventions. The choice of photographs, the layout of pages, the leading and misleading use of footnotes, word choices, and other instruments became means for expressing a new attention to subjective experience. Phenomenology remained the central point of reference in architectural theorizing on the relationship between experience and history throughout the 1970s and up until 1987, when the publication of Victor Farias’s Heidegger et le Nazisme dampened the cultural appeal of phenomenology. Farias’s argument that there was a strong connection between Heidegger’s philosophy, his antimodernist cultural outlook, and his involvement with Nazism unleashed what became known as the “Heidegger Affair,” a series of highly visible debates about his work and its legacy.44 The affair dealt a final blow to architectural phenomenology, which was already under the pressure of new poststructuralist approaches to the questions of history and theory.

What we now call postmodern architectural theory was in reality a consolidation of processes set in motion between the late 1940s and the early 1970s. The premature historiographical synthesis suggested by the label of postmodern theory has come at the price of proper accounting. A lot of the richness of what the postwar generation actually accomplished intellectually has been swept under the rug of labels like deconstruction.

Hesitant to completely let go of the ideals of the modern movement, architectural phenomenolgists brought forth the intellectual changes we know as postmodernism almost reluctantly, oscillating between protest and accommodation. They revived premodern symbols such as the medieval master-mason, or peasant aesthetics “rooted” in traditional buildings, in hopes of returning to what they believed were the more authentic experiential roots of modernism. Their indecisiveness and inability to completely break with modernism produced unintended results after deconstruction, when we witnessed a neomodernist return to formalism and a turn away from the postmodernist concepts of history and theory. In the new neomodernist context, Frampton’s figure of the master-mason became the model for architects interested in controlling construction costs through rapid prototyping and in eliminating the skilled craftsmen that Frampton cared so much about. Norberg-Schulz’s “spirit of place” was less a path to preserving “rooted building” than an expeditious (p.24) aesthetic enabling multinational corporate architecture firms to compete with local architects. Moore’s exaltation of the body as the path to intense communal experience eased the transition to corporate architecture, which catered to the culture of private exuberance and turned a blind eye to public squalor in places like Dubai and Shanghai. Rooted in a reaction to the collusion of secularism, capitalism, and aesthetic austerity, architectural phenomenology nevertheless adapted premodern symbols to modern ends, eased the adjustment to new modes of production, and aided the transformation of modern architectural practice into the bureaucratic administration of the built environment.

Architectural phenomenology was not an intellectual infrastructure that predetermined postmodernism, nor a transcendental idea that guided the work of architects. Rather, architectural phenomenology was the effecting of what Deleuze called a “diagrammatic function” during the postmodern period.45 That is to say, it played a piloting role in the path toward contemporary theory, accelerating and decelerating the intellectualization of architectural history, and delineating the contours of a new intellectual reality, which was not yet fully formed.

We now inhabit that reality and call it architectural theory, something some take to be totally separate from practice. But to grasp the history of architectural phenomenology requires that we consider a time when intellectual and aesthetic pursuits blended more fluidly into each other. The contours left by the trajectory of architectural phenomenology are those of the struggle over the definition of architectural theory vis-à-vis history and practice, a conflict that was waged intellectually and aesthetically, with words and with images. Architectural phenomenology both enabled and resisted the separation of theory from history and practice. That double role helps explain why the history of architectural phenomenology is also that of the role that antiintellectualism played in the intellectualization of architecture.

Notes:

(1.) Hippolyte Taine’s principles of art and architecture history are most clearly spelled out in The Philosophy of Art (London: H. Baillière, 1865). For a critical assessment of Taine’s contribution to art history, see Thomas H. Goetz, Taine and the Fine Arts (Madrid: Playor, 1973), and Jean Thomas Nordmann, Taine et la critique scientifique (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1992).

(2.) “La realidad no es dato, algo dado, regalado-sino que es construcción que el hombre hace con el material dado.” José Ortega y Gasset, En torno a Galileo, ed. José Luis Abellán (Madrid: Editorial Espasa Calpe, 1996), 50.

(3.) Ortega y Gasset, “La idea de la generación,” En torno a Galileo, 71–94.

(4.) For an excellent exegesis of Ortega y Gasset’s notion of interindividuality, see Julián Marías, El método histórico de las generaciones, in Obras completas, Vol. 6 (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1961), 64–67.

(5.) “En el ‘hoy,’ en todo ‘hoy’ coexisten, pues, articuladas varias generaciones y las relaciones que entre ellas se establecen, según la diversa condición de sus edades, representan el sistema dinámico, de atracciones y repulsiones, de coincidencia y polémica, que constituye en todo instante la realidad de la vida histórica. Y la idea de las generaciones, convertida en método de investigación histórica, no consiste en más que proyectar esa estructura sobre el pasado.” Ortega yGasset, En torno a Galileo, 88.

(6.) Precedents for the development of a polygraphic historiography can be found in Mark Jarzombek’s notion of “critical historiography,” as presented in The Psychologizing of Modernity: Art, Architecture, History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). See also Beatriz Colomina, Domesticity at War (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007). Carlos de San Antonio Gomez has also advanced a promising analysis in terms of generations in El Madrid del 27: Arquitectura y vanguardia: 1918–1936 (Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, Consejeria de Educación, Secretaría General Técnica, 1998).

(7.) For Pierre Bourdieu’s critique of Foucault and the Frankfurt School, see his “Principles for a Sociology of Cultural Works,” in The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature, ed. Randal Johnson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 178–81.

(8.) Illuminating descriptions of the theory of the field are collected in Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production.

(9.) For a good explanation of the concept of habitus with reference to architecture, see Hélène Lipstadt, “Theorizing the Competition: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu as a Challenge to Architectural History,” in Thresholds 21 (2000): 32–36.

(10.) The process by which modern architects came to wrest the position of architectural historians from unwilling art historians has been examined, from a sociological perspective, by Hélène Lipstadt in “Celebrating the Centenaries of Sir John Summerson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock: Finding a Historiography for the Architect-Historian,” in The Journal of Architecture 10, no. 1 (2005): 43–61. Lipstadt maintains that architect-historians claimed to be both insiders and outsiders vis-à-vis the disciplines of architecture and history. Thus, they established for themselves a powerful position of elite cultural producers, unattainable by either architects or historians.

(11.) Herbert Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1982), 18.

(12.) Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology (London: Routledge, 2000).

(13.) Edmund Husserl, Formal and Transcendental Logic, trans. D. Cairns (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1969), 234.

(14.) Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations, trans. J.N. Findlay (London: Routledge and K. Paul; New York: Humanities Press, 1970), 252.

(15.) See the English translation of Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft in Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy: Philosophy as Rigorous Science, and Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man, trans. Quentin Lauer (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), 71–147.

(16.) Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy, Vol. II, trans. F. Kersten (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1982), 16.

(17.) See Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, trans. Dorion Cairns (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1977), originally published in 1931.

(18.) Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, 10.

(19.) Christian Norberg-Schulz, Intentions in Architecture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1965), 62–63.

(20.) For Maritain’s views on intuition as they were presented to architects and artists, see Jacques Maritain, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977).

(21.) Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement, 395.

(22.) Heidegger’s relationship to Husserl’s phenomenology is well explicated in Thomas Sheehan, “Husserl and Heidegger: The Making and Unmaking of Their Relationship,” in Psychological and Transcendental Phenomenology and the Confrontation with Heidegger (1927–1931), trans. Thomas Sheehan and Richard E. Palmer (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997), 1–32. See also Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement, 336–71.

(23.) Heidegger first expressed these views in his 1919 lectures in Freiburg on “The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of World View.” See Moran’s analysis of these lectures in Introduction to Phenomenology. 204–5.

(24.) Heidegger critiqued Husserl’s philosophy as idealist at various junctures in Being and Time, including: “If what the term ‘idealism’ says, amounts to the understanding that Being can never be explained by entities but is already that which is ‘transcendental’ for every entity, then idealism affords the only correct possibility for a philosophical problematic. If so, Aristotle was no less an idealist than Kant. But if ‘idealism’ signifies tracing back every entity to a subject or consciousness whose sole distinguishing features are that it remains indefinite in its Being and is best characterized negatively as ‘un-Thing-like,’ then this idealism is no less naïve in its method than the most grossly militant realism.” Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper Collins, 1962), 251–52.

(25.) Ibid., 2.

(26.) See, for instance, Michael E. Zimmerman, Heidegger’s Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, Art (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990). Zimmerman studied the relation of Heidegger’s thinking on technology to the reactionary politics of his time and to the German intellectual tradition from Hegel to Marx. Zimmerman contended that to properly evaluate Heidegger’s thought one must decenter its totalizing tendencies by examining its own indebtedness to realities and histories outside of itself.

(27.) In their translation of Being and Time, Macquarrie and Robinson chose the word “historicality” to denote Heidegger’s particular use of the German word Geschichte, usually meaning simply history, in the literal sense of the German word Geschehen (to occur, or to happen). “Historicality” signifies the actual happening of events, or history in the making.

(28.) Hannah Arendt, “The Concept of History,” in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought (New York: Penguin Books, 1977), 41–90.

(29.) See especially Part II of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York: Seabury Press, 1975).

(30.) Kenneth Frampton, “Place, Production and Architecture: Towards a Critical Theory of Building,” Architectural Design 52, no. 7–8 (1982): 44.

(31.) Christian Norberg-Schulz, Existence, Space and Architecture (New York : Praeger, 1971), 18.

(32.) The journal Places, edited by Donlyn Lyndon and William Porter, captured the spirit of the times with its title and did much to advance postmodern positions deeply influenced by architectural phenomenology. See, for instance, Donlyn Lyndon and William L. Porter, “Place Debate: Piazza d’Italia, Editor’s Introduction,” Places: A Quarterly Journal of Environmental Design 1, no. 2 (Winter 1984): 7.

(33.) Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), 17–81.

(34.) For Heidegger’s meditation on das Gestell, the technological framework through which he believed modern society looked upon the whole of reality, see “The Age of the World Picture,” in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).

(35.) Christian Norberg-Schulz, “Architecture and Poetry,” The Dallas Institute of Humanities & Culture Newsletter 1, no. 3 (August-September 1982): 17–19.

(36.) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, L’Oeil et l’esprit (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1964).

(37.) See, for instance, Steven Holl, “Archetypal Experiences in Architecture,” Architecture and Urbanism, special issue on Holl (July 1994), 121–36; and Steven Holl, “Pre-Theoretical Ground,” Columbia Documents of Architecture and Theory D 4 (1995), 91–121.

(38.) Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), 84.

(39.) Ibid., 277.

(40.) Ibid., 293.

(42.) Kenneth Frampton, “The Status of Man and the Status of His Objects: A Reading of The Human Condition,” Architectural Design 52, no. 7–8 (1982): 6–7.

(43.) Kenneth Frampton, “Architecture in Print: A Dialogue with Kenneth Frampton,” Design Book Review 8 (1986), 11.

(44.) Heidegger’s “The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts,” although allegedly written in 1945, was published in 1983, in accordance with his request to his son Herrmann that it be released at a “propitious time.” The essay was received as an attempt by Heidegger to defend his involvement in the Nazi party. Inadvertently, it sparked a series of historical investigations that effectively exposed the mendacious character of his remarks, the first of which was Victor Farias’s Heidegger et le nazisme (Paris: Verdier, 1987), followed in Germany by Hugo Ott’s Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu Seiner Biographie (Frankfurt: Campus, 1988). By 1998, similar studies followed within the Anglo-American academy by Richard Rorty, Richard Wolin, Thomas Sheehan, and Michael E. Zimmerman, among others.

(45.) Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).