Towards an architectural anthropology

Raymond Lucas (University of Manchester)
Start time:
17 May, 2014 at 10:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel seeks to investigate the possibilities of a deeper anthropological engagement with the discipline of architecture, based in but distinct from the practices developed by design anthropology, what can anthropologists learn from architects and what can architects learn from anthropologists?

Long abstract:

The recent development of Design Anthropology (Gunn, Donovan Eds. 2013, Gunn, Otto, Smith Eds. 2013) as a distinctive sub-discipline has some lessons for collaborations with the built environment disciplines including architecture and urban design. Many of the issues raised are of interest to architecture, most notably the opportunity to integrate anthropological theory and methodology into the design process. A distinction must be drawn between the needs of a Design Anthropologist and those of an Architectural Anthropologist. This distinction is more than merely one of scale, however: most notably, the use of prototypes within design anthropology is inappropriate for architecture, and fundamental issues about our relationships with the environment and what it means to dwell are concerns shared by architecture and and anthropology. There have been a number of studies in the mode of an 'anthropology of architecture' (Buchli 2012, Marchand 2009) or an 'ethnography of architecture' (Yaneva 2009, Houdart 2009), but what does it mean to produce anthropology by way of architecture (Ingold 2013)? It is easy to see what architects can learn from anthropology, but a greater challenge to ask anthropologists to learn from architects and designers. Themes for the panel include but are not restricted to the following: ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE STUDIO THE CONUNDRUM OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE HOME, AND WHAT IT MEANS TO DWELL ARCHITECTURES OF COLLECTION: THE MUSEUM & ARCHIVE SITES OF EXCHANGE: SHOPPING, MARKET, CONSUMPTION ARCHITECTURAL POWER RELATIONS MATERIAL CULTURE AND CIVIC BUILDINGS THE TRANSIT INTERCHANGE, FLOWS AND ROUTES