Architecture in Suspension: Disruptive Practices within the State of Exception

Fernando Nieto Fernandez, Francisco Antonio García Triviño

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional


In his work State of Exception, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has recently studied the consequences of the exception becoming the rule. He explains the situation where the law requires the partial exclusion of the legal order not to lose its legitimate character. It is the basis of the so-called "spaces in suspension", where the rule is the exception in the form of suspension of the legal order, the anomie. In those spaces the act of government is located in a threshold area of ambiguity between general and particular spheres.

The translation of Agamben’s concept to architecture is possible. There are physical scenarios where the norm is not a security shield since it is accomplished and questioned at the same time. What type of architecture is responding to those spaces in suspension? Is there a critical attitude boosted by that kind of architectural practices?

The paper approaches the topic through a theoretical contextualization of the idea of the state of exception in architecture. This approach is based on the analysis of some study cases, which are considered as disruptive practices since they are proposing new ways of practicing architecture. They utilize strategies such as new interpretations of the law (urban prosthesis, occupation of public spaces), the replacement of the authorities’ duties (occupation of public buildings and empty plots) or the proposal of new teaching practices. Their analysis let the authors define a specific context in the architectural practice, which reflects a new paradigm called "architecture in suspension".
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th Annual Symposium of Architectural Research 2015
Subtitle of host publicationARCHI+TECTONICS Architecture, Communities and Cities under Change
Place of PublicationEspoo, Finland
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
EventAnnual Symposium of Architectural Research: ARCHI+TECTONICS Architecture, Communities and Cities under Change - Aalto University, Otaniemi Campus, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 23 Oct 201524 Oct 2015
Conference number: 7


ConferenceAnnual Symposium of Architectural Research
Abbreviated titleATUT

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Architecture in Suspension: Disruptive Practices within the State of Exception'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this