Mapping Controversies in Architecture

english with russian translation

How can we conceptualise architecture without falling into the divides architecture/society, nature/culture, materiality/meaning? How can we prevent these abstractions from continuing to blind architectural theory? Mapping Controversies is a research method and teaching philosophy that allows divides to be crossed. It offers a new methodology for following debates surrounding contested urban knowledge.

Engaging in explorations of on-going and recent controversies (such as the 2012 Olympics stadium in London, the Welsh parliament, the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow among others) and re-visiting some well-known debates (such as the Sidney Opera House), Albena Yaneva illustrated ways of tracing and mapping the changing sets of positions triggered by design.

By mobilising digital technologies and new computational design techniques we are able to visualise the variety of factors that impinge on design and track actors’ trajectories, changing groupings, concerns and modalities of action. As a powerful method to engage in public debates, mapping controversies can be extrapolated to a wide range of complex phenomena of hybrid nature.

Albena Yaneva – a social scientist who holds a PhD in Sociology from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des mines de Paris (2001) with expertise in design ethnography and cognitive anthropology, Professor of Architecture at the University of Manchester, Director Manchester Architecture Research Centre, Visiting Professor at Princeton University.