‘The machine man only designs, he no longer builds but leaves the building to other specialists; he no longer builds for himself but only for others; this is the architect of today.’ –Frederick Kiesler, Pseudo-Functionalism in Modern Architecture, 1949
This unit represents an inquiry into the true architectural, spatial, noetic and communicative spectrum of contemporary life. In the contexts of today’s cultural climate – and the existential conflation of life and work – Living Matters will challenge current materialist perceptions. We will explore and investigate inhabitation and interiority so as to merge these introspective ideas with broader definitions of matter, space and living and explore the possibility of a Kieslerian continuity in the present.
Architect and philosopher Frederick Kiesler was to denounce the determinacy of functionalism arguing that it failed to reconcile itself with the volatility of lived experience. He would seek, instead, a greater continuity between the ‘physical’ and ‘psychic conditions’ of twentieth The unit will be supported by Elia Zenghelis, the century life through design. unit's visiting critic, who will run one workshop per term. These workshops will highlight the Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves in a concepts of domesticity and the related instiworld engulfed by technocracy and multimedia. tutions as formative agents in the principles, Kiesler’s work has reached its apex in the in- theories, and tenets adopted for making the creasing sophistication of everyday apparatus city, whilst critically examining their strengths and internet-enabled devices, the preponder- as well as their weaknesses. ance of which has led to a phenomenon termed ‘digital amnesia’ – forgetting information and trusting a digital device to remember it for you.
This relationship between mind and matter, as we will enquire, underpins a range of significant questions for twenty-first century design. Can we design for new living paradigms, peculiar existences and materially advanced habitats? Can the augmented, information-impregnated material matrix within which we exist, become an integral part of the way contemporary living is organised and practised?
Kostas Grigoriadis holds a PhD in Architecture by Project from the RCA and a Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism from the AA’s DRL. He has previously worked for Foster + Partners in London and
held a Visiting Lectureship at the RCA. His work focuses on new material design methodologies and draws from cognitive and materialist theory.
Elia Zenghelis studied and taught at the AA from 1956 to 1987. Co-founder of OMA with Rem Koolhaas in 1975 and partner until 1987, when he established Gigantes Zenghelis Architects
in Athens. He has taught Advanced Studio at Yale School of Architecture from 2013 to the present. Recipient of the Annie Spink Award for excellence in education in 2000.