Architecture as thriving: In search of "the quality without a name"

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This article explores the everyday use of architectural objects, conceiving
the purpose of architecture to be the support of everyday wellbeing
– of “thriving”. The approach combines Bateson’s concept of “meta-communication” with Scruton’s Wittgenstein-based architectural aesthetics.
To describe architecture as an act of “thriving” is to propose that everyday
architecture makes it possible for its users to ‘enunciate’ their experience
of the fluency of their shared occupancy of the architecture that constitutes their surroundings. Thriving is thus defined as a socially habituated and mostly unconscious and non-verbalized “quality without a name” (to borrow Alexander’s notion). We examine the empirical implications of this theoretical argument by exploring the practices of residents in a newly built apartment block in the inner city of Helsinki, Finland. The empirical research uses autoethnography and observations, photographs, interviews, social media discussion, and planning and design documents as its primary methodology and sources of data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-33
Number of pages25
JournalNordic Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of art

  • Architecture


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