Architects today recognise that “[…] any attempt to create a new sense of social cohesion has to start from the recognition that individualism; diversity and scepticism are written into Western culture.”1 In such an environment, the traditional qualitative architectural values of light, space and order seem without adequate substance to establish a basis for the rationale and intent of the architect. The potentiality of the situation is that “[…] the traditional idea of architecture, defined by its ubiquity and permanence, is threatened with extinction.”2
Increasingly within the current condition, architects are subscribing to theories and methods that are traditionally outside the discipline of architecture to authorise or legitimise their architectural designs in response to the current condition. When architects do this they are not permitting, in fact denying, the ability and autonomy of their own knowledge and knowing to authorise their architectural designs effectively.3 This implies outwardly, that the fundamental processes of architectural ‘knowledge’ and ‘knowing’ lack sufficient magnitude to apply their own standards of authority both internally and more importantly today, externally. This is a serious problem for the authority of the architects knowledge and knowing as an individual and discipline as a whole.
This dissertation will be present a four-part discussion across the philosophical constructs of epistemology, authority, ethics and ideology. These areas of discussion will form a critical knowledge base in order to ascertain more specifically: What if anything is the authority of the architect?
1 Ulrich, Beck. “Living your own life in a runaway world: Individualisation, globalisation, politics” Archis no.2 (2001): 19.
2 Irenne Scalbert, “Architecture at the End of History,” in Reading MVRDV, ed. Véronique Patteeuw (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2003), 67.
3 Shane Murray. “Architectural Design and Discourse”, Durable Visual Record Doctor of Philosophy by Project, (Melbourne: RMIT University, 2004) 1.