BiographyThe third edition of my collected essays, Architecture and Identity: Responses to Cultural and Technological Change, published by Routledge this year, presents both a personal intellectual biography and perspective on changing movements in architectural theory and criticism over a half-century. Ever since I went to Berlin in 1960 in search of the roots of Modernism I have been drawn as much to the ideas propelling key developments in architectural and urban design around the world as by any material and spatial products of those ideas.
Whether motivated by personal or professional reasons, I have been especially fortunate since those first explorations in Europe in having many further opportunities for long periods of on-the-spot research in diverse cultures in both developed and developing parts of the world, usually associated with various teaching appointments, which both inform and enliven these essays. In addition to all the scholarly researches, the vital empathetic experience thus gained has in turn inspired the more philosophical essays exploring the deeper cultural and psychosocial processes underlying the evolution of built identities, culminating in my theory of the ‘extended self’.
Not least, where I have reviewed my position regarding any key issue over the years, particularly about issues of urban densities and ‘planned’ versus ‘unplanned’ cities, or the cultural and social impacts of the Internet, I have also made no attempt to hide those changes, but on the contrary regard them as an essential part of the evolution of ideas.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
History, theory and criticism of architecture and urban design; architecture and philosophy; evolution of cultures; extended cognition and the built environment.
Climate change, politics and people.
By: Chris Abel
Subjects: Built Environment
My book, The Extended Self - Architecture, Memes and Minds (Manchester University Press 2015), was unanimously voted winner of the International Committee of Architectural Critics 2017 Bruno Zevi Book Award by an international jury. For the Press Release and more about the award, which is announced every three years at the meeting of the International Union of Architects (UIA), see the CICA website below.
The book is a multidisciplinary study of identity formation and advances many of the key ideas first presented in my collected essays, Architecture and Identity - Responses to Cultural and Technological Change (Routledge, 3rd edn 2017), which also made it to the shortlist for another CICA award. The winning book has been favourably reviewed in international journals of environmental psychology and philosophy as well as in the architectural media.