Kant for Architects: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Kant for Architects

1st Edition

By Diane Morgan


146 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415698696
pub: 2017-09-25
Hardback: 9780415698689
pub: 2017-09-13
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pub: 2017-09-11
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This book introduces architects to a philosopher, Immanuel Kant, whose work was constantly informed by a concern for the world as an evolving whole. According to Kant, in this interconnected and dynamic world, humans should act as mutually dependent and responsible subjects. Given his future-oriented and ethico-politically concerned thinking, Kant is a thinker who clearly speaks to architects. This introduction demonstrates how his ideas bear pertinently and creatively upon the world in which we live now and for which we should care thoughtfully.

Kant grounded his enlightened vision of philosophy’s mission using an architectural metaphor: of the modest 'dwelling-house'. Far from constructing speculative 'castles in the sky' or vertiginous 'towers which reach to the heavens', he tells us that his humble aim is rather to build a 'secure home for ourselves', one which appropriately corresponds at once to the limited material resources available on our planet, and to our need for firm and solid principles to live by. This book also explores Kant's notions of cosmopolitics, which attempts to think politics from a global perspective by taking into account the geographical fact that the earth is a sphere with limited land mass and natural resources. Given the urgent topicality of sustainable development, these Kantian texts are of particular interest for architects of today.

Students of architecture, who are necessarily trained in negotiating between theory and practice, gain much from considering Kant, whose critical project also consisted of testing and exploring the viability of ideas, so as to ascertain to what extent, and crucially, how ideas can have a constructive effect on the whole world, and on us as active agents therein.


'Diane Morgan's study on Immanuel Kant and his relevance to architectural thought and theory is a magnificent, thoughtful and provocative study of Kant's ideas about building and dwelling, but more importantly, of his notions of cosmopolitics which introduce a global perspective to the idea of building homes and worlds. Indeed, Kant's 'cosmic' and holistic understanding of the world is a necessary underpinning for any theory of sustainability, ecology and the cosmopolitan spirit.' - Prof Nicole Pohl, Editor of Utopian Studies, UK

'In this brief and yet eloquent introduction to the evolving relationship between Kant's critical philosophy and the theory and practice of architecture Diane Morgan demonstrates with critical verve, lucid erudition and a wide range of vivid and luminous examples from both architecture and philosophy how the Vitruvian architectural virtues of integrity, utility and aesthetic delight can apply as much to an account of the dialogue between these two disciplines as to the problems or questions encountered within them.' - Dr. Charlie Blake, University of West London, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Kant Now? 1. Placing Kant: The City of Königsberg/ Kaliningrad. 2. The Critical Project and Architecture. 3. The Precarious Situation of Architecture and its Relation to Beauty. 4. From the Sublime to the Cosmopolitical: Building for an Infinitely Better Future. 5. Building Cosmopolitically?: "Fluid Geography" and "Total Thinking". Conclusion: Architects of the Future Unite! Further Reading. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Diane Morgan is Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, UK.

About the Series

Thinkers for Architects

Architects have often looked to thinkers in philosophy and theory to find design ideas or in search of a critical framework for practice. Yet architects, and students of architecture, can struggle to navigate thinkers’ writings. It can be daunting to approach original texts with little appreciation of their contexts. And existing introductions seldom explore architectural material in any detail.

This original series offers clear, quick and accurate introductions to key thinkers who have written about architecture. Each book summarises what a thinker has to offer for architects. It locates their architectural thinking in the body of their work, introduces significant books and essays, helps decode terms and provides quick reference for further reading. If you find philosophical and theoretical writing about architecture difficult, or just don’t know where to begin, this series will be indispensable.

Books in the Thinkers for Architects series come out of architecture. They pursue architectural modes of understanding, aiming to introduce a thinker to an architectural audience. Each author in the series – an architect or an architectural critic – has focussed on a selection of a thinker’s writings which they judge most relevant to designers and interpreters of architecture. Thinkers for Architects has proved highly successful, now with over ten volumes dealing with familiar cultural figures whose writings have influenced architectural designers, critics and commentators in distinctive and important ways. The series continues to expand, addressing an increasingly rich diversity of contemporary thinkers who have something to say to architects.

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