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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Can the Sustainable be Beautiful?

This project engages with different philosophers and materials in exploring the concept of beauty within sustainable architecture. It seeks to further the inquiry into sustainability to include aesthetics and beauty in order to suggest a new way of living to make sure of the continued prospering of a community. It will argue that a sense of place and care is important in fostering a sustainable environment and that beauty plays a crucial role in this. This is particularly relevant as the concept of sustainability is in the news and, in the planning agenda. If we continue to neglect the research of beauty within sustainable architecture, it is possible we may slowly eradicate beauty in the future. Thus the purpose of this research is to end the divide between the sustainable and the beautiful. The first section will explore the different accounts of beauty, exploring subjective versus objective paradigms. The second section will explore the role of modern architecture in the decline of beauty within architecture in favour of sustainability through case studies of certain modern buildings. Further, it will examine the concept of dwelling and the art of making place through Heidegger and Christian Norberg-Schulz in explaining why modern architecture is failing.

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2020 Abstracts Stage 2

Reading the Psychological Implications of Brutalist Architecture through J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise

This paper intends to question the extent to which brutalist architecture produces negative environments through their adverse psychological impact on those who inhabit them. Equally, it will explore how such environments can be overcome. The object these aims will centre around is J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise, a dystopian narrative that critiques the modernist tower block, by providing a hyperbolic account of the potential ramifications it can have on the human mind. This paper intends to question the extent to which brutalist architecture produces negative environments through their adverse psychological impact on those who inhabit them. Equally, it will explore how such environments can be overcome. The object these aims will centre around is J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise, a dystopian narrative that critiques the modernist tower block, by providing a hyperbolic account of the potential ramifications it can have on the human mind.The consideration of how negative environments can be overcome will draw on the positive elements of Deleuze’s Nietzsche – his concept of the eternal return and the Overman – and Debord’s psychogeography. These concepts are examined to explore the extent which they can be used as remedial to the negative implications of an environment.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Relationship between Art, Politics and Architecture in a ‘Post-Political World’

With reference to:
 Rancière’s metapolitical framing of architecture and the reconstruction of Brodsky

The intention of this project is to outline three independent topics concerning: (1) Rancière’s ‘metapolitical’ framing of architecture, (2) Alexander Brodsky and Illya Utkin’s ‘Paper Architecture’, and (3) Ralph Erskine’s ‘democratic’ architecture, with the aim of analysing and assessing the question as to whether there is room for a political enquiry into the philosophy of architecture in a ‘post-political’ world.

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2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Beauty and Utility

The project aims to analyse the relationships between property and beauty and utility. This will include the shift in what we consider beauty to be, and how that has affected property development in the UK. Architectures and developers of the 20th Century have become impatient with beauty and replaced it with utility. I will discuss the implications for this on both the type of building as well as where these buildings are being constructed. In that vein the project will address the importance of environment and rural surroundings to human nature. Environmental ethics and aesthetics will form a large proportion of the project and the conclusion will determine whether this change in perception of beauty has had a negative effect on property in the UK and whether our spiritual and moral needs have been damaged. Key Philosophers include Roger Scruton who discusses the importance of beauty for humans in terms of understanding their nature and world around them. Immanuel Kant’s notion of disinterestedness in regard to beauty will also be analysed and compared to Scruton’s idea that one must appreciate the function of something to appreciate its beauty as well.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Architecture

THE HOME Taking architecture as the territory, the object I have chosen is the home. ⇒ Everyone has a different idea of home – not necessarily always a building. ⇒ Factors such as politics, society and culture affect where and how we live. ⇒ How free are we to live as we choose? DWELLING ⇒ How does the way we dwell shape our characters as individuals? ⇒ Levinas’ notion of the Other – dependant upon being welcomed into a dwelling place. ⇒ Adorno feels capitalism subsumes art, limiting it to only the bourgeoisie whilst reifying all others. ⇒ Mass-produced homes = hundreds of people living the same? HEIDEGGER ⇒ Effects of technology, or techne: bringing-forth truth, unconcealment ⇒ Identity: for us to develop ‘Being-one’s-Self’ we need truth as a basis. ⇒ To be true to ourselves we must live authentically, but instead most of the time we are trapped in the inauthenticity of the ‘they’.

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2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Postmodernity in Ouseburn Valley

Aims and Objectives ▪ To begin by establishing the Modern and Postmodern styles and characteristics of Architecture and more importantly, how and why they came about. ▪ To Show how Ouseburn Valley has been affected by the changing styles of Architecture. ▪ To illustrate how and why society’s view of the world has changed with the regeneration of Ouseburn Valley. Intentions. I will progress to evaluate the effects of this change by considering the following questions: ▪ Material change results in special change. Thus, how do our interpretations of space and time alter with the shift from modernism to postmodernism? ▪ Furthermore, how does this affect the way we act with respect to the world? ▪ How does our view of knowledge and reality change as a consequence of Postmodernism? Sources. The key source for my investigation will be David Harvey’s Condition of Postmodernity. In addition to this, I will refer to: Fredric Jameson – Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Perry Anderson – The Origins of Postmodernity. Jean-Francois Lyotard – The postmodern condition.

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2006 Abstracts Stage 2

St James’ Park and the Postmodern Condition

I will be using the St. James’ Park football stadium in Newcastle as the territory for my project. What is postmodernism? – Crucial to my work on St. James’ Park will be an understanding of the postmodern condition and its relation to modernity. In my project I will look mainly at the work of David Harvey and Jean-Francois Lyotard on the subject of postmodernism. Is St. James’ Park postmodern? – St. James’ Park is a mix of old and new in design and construction. It stands towering over the city of Newcastle as a symbol of local identity. It is also home to numerous shops and corporate ventures catering for many tastes. I will examine to what extent the stadium could be considered a postmodern building, examining the idea of postmodern architecture. How has the rise in techno-science and increased capitalist penetration affected St. James’ Park? – Identified by Lyotard as key features of postmodernity, techno-science and capitalism are driven by the quest for development through efficiency. I will investigate what effect this has on St. James’ Park as a stadium and as a stage for football in a postmodern age. Key Sources: The Condition of Postmodernity by David Harvey; The Postmodern Condition by Jean-Francois Lyotard; The Inhuman by Jean-Francois Lyotard

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2005 Abstracts Stage 2

Modernism and Postmodernism in the Robinson Library: an investigation into the way these contrasting social movements effect a centre of knowledge

Outline: In this project I will be using the Robinson Library as my territory as I feel it is a good example of Modern building which is now essentially a Post Modern centre of knowledge. Aims: o To provide an exposition of Modern and Postmodern architectural styles and why they were introduced. o I will provide additional material about other libraries e.g. some from the baroque period to explore whether Modern architectural styles are detrimental or complementary to a centre of knowledge. o To explore the Postmodern idea of communications leading to a networked society. o To show that the rise of information technologies has led to the dilution of information and knowledge. o To show that computerised communication systems are creating an increasing alienated society. Sources: The key critical thinker I will be examining will be David Harvey and his book ‘The Condition of Postmodernity’. Other sources will include: Lyotard, Jean – Francois: The Postmodern Condition Castells, Manuel: The Rise of the Network Society Jacobs, Jane: The death and life of great American cities McGuigan, Jim: Modernity and Postmodern culture I will be using books from the Robinson Library, internet resources, information from magazines/newspapers and photographs taken in the Robinson Library and around Newcastle city centre to illustrate my project report.

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2005 Abstracts Stage 2

Identical Chairs are Socially Destructive?

Mass produced items are everywhere. They perform cold hard lines on our imagination. How can we relate to objects, initially designed by people, but created by machine? As beings that came ‘out of’ nature, do we do ourselves (psychological and emotional) harm by surrounding ourselves with straight bricked walls and replicated items? What philosophical criteria are employed in the architectural decision-making process? Comparing and contrasting the position of Art Nouveau, with the position of Jean Baudrillard a century later, I argue we are alienated in our environment. This is due to industrialisation and the life doctrines capitalism preaches. To inject nature into our surroundings would increase happiness of the occupants. Art Nouveau epitomises an ideal synthesis of nature and machine. If Art Nouveau were to pervade our environment, we would be happier. It is no coincidence that environmentalism forms one of the two movements evidencing the powerful widespread surges of collective identity to have been found in the last quarter of the century.1 I have read the Communist Manifesto, and I have dealt with modern writers who provide Marxian critiques or developments in Marxian thought. In this essay I deal with globalization and capitalism and how they might have affected my environment. I look at an industry that deals with these issues day-to-day (landscape architecture). I look at the criteria that landscape architects might use when regarding chairs and connect human rights to furniture. The ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement should be incorporated more into our environment, as well as the sweeping curving nature-derived designs found in Art Nouveau. The Green Party’s plea is for “The need for a Reasonable Revolution” in the plight to prevent the Ghost Towns of Britain. Is Art Nouveau to some extent a priori?

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2004 Abstracts Stage 2

An individual and their power can account for the transition from the traditional Renaissance architecture to the dynamic Baroque architecture. Is this a fair statement for Praque in the 16th and 17th centuries?

Prague is my chosen place for the study of my project and the development of architecture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The architecture is a mix of all time periods and have al been preserved, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque are just some of the styles that can be seen. I am focusing on the Renaissance to Baroque period and the reason for the architectural transition. Along with this transition and the reasons behind it there is the main theme of individuality and power and how these characteristics may have helped the process of Renaissance to Baroque. The individuals that could have the kind of power needed to influence a change in style are emperors, religious leaders, architects and the aristocracy. But how do these individuals use their power to influence others? Can style really be changed through the will of one person? These questions lead to an investigation of individualism and its impact and influence on others. The main buildings I am exploring are the Renaissance Beldevere, a summerhouse, built for Queen Ann, the Baroque Wallenstein Palace, the Baroque St. Nicholas Church and the cathedral of St. Vitus. These buildings are interesting to compare and contrast so as to get a real feel for the different periods and stages of development. The Belvedere- 1535-63, Renaissance Summerhouse built for Queen Anne. The idea of an individual being responsible for the development in architecture is possible but unlikely so there must be other reasons. These are blunted sensibility, advancement of architectural tools and abilities, the need for new art to admire and the natural development of style. All these have to be discussed in order to find which is most likely to have had the most influence. Religion is also a key factor in the development as the transition may be connected to the Thirty Years War and this would mean limitations or requirements were needed to be seen on buildings in order to promote or demote certain religious beliefs. Sources The Architecture of Prague and Bohemia- Brain Knox, Renaissance and Baroque – Heinrich Wolfflin, The Thirty Years War- Stephen Lee, Space, Time and Architecture- Sigfried Giedion, Rudolf II and Prague: the court and the city- Eliska Fucov, Also a study of the buildings themselves in Prague.

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2004 Abstracts Stage 3

The Contemporary Challenge: a philosophical investigation concerning the Heideggerian notion of dwelling

Territory & Field of Exploration This project will discuss the field of contemporary architecture. I want to discuss some of the major challenges that face the contemporary architect in relation to his particular ‘way of thinking’ about the problems of designing in our technological age. In Our Modern Technological Age, Can Contemporary Architecture truly appeal to The Heideggerian Notion of Dwelling? Aims & Objectives. • I will discuss Heidegger’s essay ‘Building. Dwelling, Thinking’ in order to reveal the nature of Heidegger’s notion of dwelling. • This project will discuss in detail the relationship between Building & Dwelling in order to adopt a ‘way of thinking’ about the challenge of building that may be applicable in the contemporary world. • I will discuss Heidegger’s use of ‘the poetic’, and ask weather or not there is the possibility in our contemporary world for ‘poetic building’ • This project will discuss the affect of modernity on Heidegger’s notion of dwelling, my focus will rest specifically on mans ‘homelessness’.

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2003 Abstracts Stage 2

Florence

CONCEPTS o Original Florentine thought. o Literature, philosophies, culture, art through the ages in Florence. o The above point in comparison to non Florentine, modern day Philosophers. o Evidence of the influence of philosophy in the city/ and its architecture. o Relevance of the modern day writings/ coverage on Florence OBJECTIVES o To portray the many aspects and influences that such a diverse city such as Florence has. Noting that it is thought to been host to the movement of the Renaissance, in turn creating the artistic reawakening of the Fifteenth century, right up to the modern Twenty First Century. o Study the literature, philosophy, art and culture in general that is to have stemmed from Florence. Study of the significant the Florentines themselves and Florence how it was in comparison to the modern day coverage and focus upon Florence of the media today. o By using contemporary use of the media and the works of modern philosophers to compare the issues and fundamental thought of the Florentines years ago in light of the world today to see if there is any comparison and if it is evident in Florence today. The evidence of this will be looked at in the culture, buildings architecture and art and so on. o To look at how the original philosophy of Florence and the fact of it being written in Florence has created modern day contemporary interest and influence. SOURCES o The Florentine thought will be looked at using the writings of -Dante -Machiavelli o On the same issues the contrasting modern philosophers used will be -Martin Heidegger -Friedrich Nietzsche -Emmanuel Levinas o Contemporary newspaper articles, films, tourism information and the visual aspect of photographs will also be used, including articles about aesthetics by likes and contemporaries -Foucault -Bartes -Barns. PROJECT TERRITORY o Bridging a gap between the history and stance of thought and thinkers over time within Florence and how as a reaction it has an impact worldwide stirring people on to writing about a visiting this Tuscan area. o Show how as a city Florence can provide a visual type of inspiration, freedom, morality and written about by Florentine thinkers. Show the change of thought on these issues has altered over time, whether it be artistic, culturally or involved in the tourism trade. o The change in philosophical thought in Florence is respect to the modern day, contemporary way that we now know Florence through articles, photographs and the like today.

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2003 Abstracts Stage 2

Personality in Structure

Objective · Investigating a sense of belonging and its relationship to structure. Territory · In my project I follow the connection between structure in daily life and the structures found within Durham Cathedral. · I was interested in exploring the idea about one’s sense of belonging to a place, and most particularly whether this is affected by our structures, self imposed or otherwise. If a structure changes do we lose our sense of stability? Structure and stability have always been linked but is it these which, when taken out of the literal sense of architecture and put into the personal ideas of life, form the basis for which we shape our attachments? · I have chosen Durham Cathedral because of my personal knowledge and experience of the building and the life within it. · It provides many good opportunities for comparisons to be made between the life as it used to be lived in and around the cathedral over the past 900 years, and how we live our lives today. Because much of the day to day traditions in the cathedral have remained more or less as a constant it can be used as a basis providing useful information to contrast and compare what it is about structure that affects us. Summary · The first half of my project concerns the comparisons between structure and person, and the second half looks at the sense of belonging. As a conclusion bringing the whole project together, the last section looks at whether it is structure that makes us happy, or whether we could live without it. Research/Resources: Historical fact – building of cathedral Personal experiences – those working there and those visiting Works of Kant, Foucault and others

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2003 Abstracts Stage 2

An Analysis of the Roots of Modern and Postmodern Architecture in Newcastle

KEY CONCEPTS/ WORDS Enlightenment, Modernity, Rationalizing, Technology, Efficiency, Town Planning, Functionalist. Post modernity, Inspiration, Progression, Shift in systems, Design, Fragmentation, Pastiche, Eclecticism, Existentialism. OBJECTIVES 1. To study the different styles and progressions of architecture in Newcastle. 2. To look at the political and economic forces that have affected the changing of the cities landscape. 3. To analyse social forces that have initiated the architectural changes. 4. To examine prominent architects and philosophers that have altered the direction of modern and postmodern thinking. SOURCES Books borrowed from Newcastle Upon Tyne University Library. Photos taken in the center of Newcastle, visual media gathered from books, internet sites, magazines, leaflets and newspaper articles. FIELD OF EXPLORATION I am going to look at how the fabric of Newcastle’s architecture has evolved over the past one hundred years. By using photographic data gathered in Newcastle I will be able to draw upon examples which can be analyzed with reference to famous architects of the era. The modern and postmodern architecture of Newcastle lends itself to philosophical and sociological interpretation. CHANGE My project will be looking at the progressions that have forced the architectural changes upon Newcastle. I am hoping to illustrate the shift from modern architecture to postmodern architecture and the philosophical themes that have brought them about. THE GAP BETWEEN HUMANS AND THINGS My aim here is to highlight how man has become disenchanted with the Enlightenment project and scientific progress. Disunity of knowledge in the postmodern era has led to a more confusing, pastiche and fragmented way of interpreting society. This incredulity has in some ways widened the gap between humans and things.

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2003 Abstracts Stage 2

The Architects New Best Friend

A philosophical inquiry into the architects new best friend: a discussion regarding the use of space in relation to design. Territory and field of exploration. Modern and contemporary interior design and interior architecture, specifically the trend in open-plan ‘new york’ style penthouses and lofts. Closer to home the recent trends in Newcastle’s slick and stylish quayside developments. Key concepts and ideas to be investigated. – Architectual space-in relation to the object and process of design – Concepts of purpose, function and place in relation to design – Minimalist approaches to design, style and manipulation of space. “Architecture is like clay held between the fingers of both hands- recording their movements. One hand is the human will, the other is the condition of the environment, architecture is the record of this conversation between the two- it is the medium to reunite them”. My project will aim at showing how the acceptance of space as a valuable architectual tool bridges the gap between humans and the things they witness around them- this space can then be shaped and sculpted by the process of interior design and the placement of objects- drawing the architect and the object closer together in a relationship previously unseen in interior design. My project will also try and identify a clear and distinct change in architectual intentions- the shift from purpose to design and the notion of design for the sake of design.