Published by Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Greenwich, London

The Hawksmoor International Lecture Series 2015-16 :: Alberto Pérez-Gomez :: Attunement: Architecture after the Crisis of Modern Science


  • Thursday 3rd March 2016, 6.30pm
  • Tessa Blackstone Lecture Theatre [11_0003]

Architecture remains in crisis, its social relevance lost between the two poles of formal innovation and technical sustainability. This lecture discusses possibilities for an architecture that can enhance our human values and capacities, an architecture that is connected–attuned–to its location and its inhabitants. Architecture, a multisensory–not pictorial–experience, operates as a communicative setting for societies; its beauty and its meaning lie in its connection to human health and self-understanding. Drawing on recent work in embodied cognition, the lecture argues that the environment, including the built environment, matters not only as a material ecology but because it is nothing less than a constituent part of our consciousness. Our physical places are of utmost importance for our wellbeing. Architecture is seen through the lens of mood and atmosphere, linking these ideas to the key German concept of Stimmung–attunement–with roots in Pythagorean harmony and Vitruvian temperance (or proportion), and its modern reliance of the linguistic nature of the human imagination.

Alberto Pérez-Gómez was born in Mexico City in 1949, where he studied architecture and practiced. In 1983 he became Director of Carleton University’s School of Architecture. Since January 1987 he has occupied the Bronfman Chair of Architectural History at McGill University, where he founded the History and Theory Master’s and Doctoral Programs. He has lectured extensively around the world and is the author of numerous articles. His book Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (MIT Press, 1983) won the Hitchcock Award in 1984. Later books include Polyphilo or The Dark Forest Revisited (1992), Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge (1997), and most recently, Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics (2006). Perez-Gomez is also co-editor of a well-known series of books entitled Chora: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture. His most recent work examines connections between phenomenology, recent cognitive science and emerging language, seeking attunement in architecture and the urban environment.




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