ArgumentNo. 4/2012

Kenneth Frampton vs. Neil Leach: continuity and discontinuity in tectonic culture development

Abstract

Tectonic culture is divided in this moment between the visions of two great international personalities of architectural education: Kenneth Frampton and Neil Leach. Their historical engagement is divergent in what concerns (1) theoretical concepts, (2) aesthetical models, (2) ethical codes, (3) role of technology, and (5) fundamental educational principles.

This study tries to analyze the discursive conflict at these five levels through the philosophy of architecture filter (“weak thought” in K. Frampton’s case and “radical thought” in N. Leach’s case), investigating the fundamental theoretical base from which the great themes of continuity and discontinuity in urban environment are iterated. At an international level, architectural education is confronted with the problem of assimilating two divergent theoretical models, which make reference to extremely different cultural values and professional evaluations.

My conclusion will refer firstly to the professional consequences of cultural separatism between the advocates of “continuity” (inside the tectonic culture inspired by phenomenology) and that of “discontinuity” (inside the digital tectonics culture inspired by poststructuralism), and secondly, to the possibility of a transdisciplinary mediation between these two discourses.

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