Veranstalter: Professur Stalder
Dozierende : Prof. Dr. Alessandra Ponte, Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder, Moritz Gleich, Johann Reble
Zeit : Do 16:45-18:30
Ort : HIL E5
In1952, the philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem, in a canonical essay that retraced the history of the concept of milieu, observed that the notion was “becoming a universal and required way of capturing both the experience and the existence of living beings” and that it was possible to recognise the idea of milieu (or environment) as “a category of contemporary thought.” Canguilhem continued emphasising the difficulty of offering a synthetic view of the historical phases of formation of the concept of milieu, together with the consecutive reversals of the rapport organism-environment, from its inception in physics to its introduction in biology, geography, psychology, technology, economic and social history, and, one may add, architecture, urban studies, design (in its expanded sense), and the arts. According to Canguilhem, it was the task of philosophy to initiate a synoptic search for the meaning and value of the concept. Canguilhem’s brilliant inquiry inspired a generation of thinkers, notably Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Donna Haraway, which expanded the investigation of the notion’s multiple declinations, and tested their operativity. More recently, Peter Sloterdijk, in the third volumes of his trilogy on spheres, famously describes the twentieth century “discovery” of the environment; while in La Domestication de L’Être (2000), he applauds the “inspired” definition of Umwelt (the environment-world of animals) proposed by the Estonian biologist Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944). Source of inspiration of Heidegger, Uexküll’s theories are examined at some length by Canguilhem, appear in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, and are explored in the recent writings of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Sixty years after the publication of Canguilhem’s essay, the notion of environment affirms itself evermore as a central category of contemporary thought while its relevance in the architectural realm is confirmed by the widespread investigations and experiments in the creation of responsive environments, adaptable or controlled surroundings, ambiances, and atmospheres.
The aim of the seminar is to scrutinize how the various definitions of environment have transformed and informed our understanding of architecture during the twentieth century and to explore present-day hypothesis and proposals. The seminar will be divided in two parts: the first half of the seminar will introduce different concepts of Environment, Milieu, and Umwelt through weekly readings and lectures; during the second part of the semester students will develop and present their own investigations of specific environments.