Architecture of Embodiment is a research environment in which architecture is addressed from an enactivist perspective. The term architecture is understood here as the built environment in its most basic terms: structure, form, and materiality.
The term enactivism refers to the approach initially formulated in 1991 by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch in the framework of embodied cognition theories, extensively described by Evan Thompson in 2007, and further developed by other theorists such as Shaun Gallagher, Ezequiel Di Paolo, Thomas Fuchs, or Dan Zahavi.
The main questions of this research environment refer directly to one of the core enactivist theses—“living is sense-making” (Varela, 1991): Can architecture be understood as a condition of the emergence of sense? If so, how does architecture condition the emergence of sense?
In accordance with the delimitation of architecture to its most basic components, the emergence of sense will be researched here in attendance to its most primary processes: those enabled by the immediate, sensuous, and pre-thetic interaction between human bodies and their built environment. Consequently, the domain in which the research is primarily developed is aesthetic experience, and aesthetic practices are exhaustively and systematically integrated into its research methodology.
In the time span of this environment (November 2013–November 2016), these and other related questions will be addressed not with the primary aim of formulating definitive answers but rather to provide the adequate conceptual and methodological conditions for them to be approached. Accordingly, the products generated in the different research cells are not so much understood as containers of knowledge, as artifacts infolding explanations of the subjects researched, but rather as elements of contingency that enable and condition the development of open trajectories of sense in new fields of intelligibility.
The realization of this research environment is thought of as mapping a territory—the architecture of embodiment—that is not given but emerges out of the acts of mapping it.
Architecture of Embodiment is funded by the Einstein Foundation and hosted by the Zentralinstitut für Weiterbildung and the Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Gestaltung at the Berlin University of the Arts.
Architecture of Embodiment by Alex Arteaga is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.