Architecture of Fear

edited 31 January, 2016 by Mr. Administrator

Associated Practices


Rowan Moore (2014) argues that it is a terrible misconception to think that architecture is a visual art. To the extent that you do indeed see architecture, it is still not a purely visual experience. When you look at something, you interpret it, you make associations, find memories evoked, gain a greater or lesser sense of the physical efforts and skill that went into making a structure. Architecture does not work with one sense alone, but with synaesthetic hybrids. Such synaesthetic hybrids can be understood as narrative environments.

Philip Johnson thinks that it is the modern perversion of photography that freezes architecture to three dimensions or, in some buildings, to two dimensions. However, Johnson argues, architecture is surely not the design of space, certainly not the massing or organizing of volumes. These are auxiliary to the main point which is the organization of procession. Architecture exists only in time.

At the dawn of the 21st century, Charles Jencks (2003) perceived the beginnings of a new paradigm emerging in architecture. It related, Jencks thought, to a deep transformation going on in the sciences, which, in time, will permeate all other areas of life. The new sciences of complexity, which concern such notions as fractals, nonlinear dynamics, the new cosmology and self-organising systems, have brought about this change in perspective. We have moved from a mechanistic view of the universe to one that is self-organising at all levels, from the atom to the galaxy. Illuminated by the computer, this new worldview is paralleled by changes now occurring in architecture.


Derrida, J. (1986). Point de Folie – maintenant l’architecture. Available from 8/DerridaPointdeFolie.pdf [Accessed 1 June 2017].

Jencks, C. (2003). The New paradigm in architecture. Hunch. Available from [Accessed 8 October 2011].

Johnson, P. (1965). Whence & whither: the processional element in architecture. Perspectiva, 9/10 167–178. Available from http://www.jstor.or/stable/1566915 [Accessed 8 June 2011].

Moore, R. (2014). A masterclass in spatial awareness. [Sensing Spaces : Architecture Reimagined – review]. Observer, 26 January, 33. Available from [Accessed 30 January 2014].

Edited on 1 June 2017 by Allan parsons

edited 2 June, 2017 by Mr. Administrator

Associated Terms in context


in Curation

The term urban has been appropriated by curators to foreground urban issues through techniques derived from museum and gallery practice presented outside the bounds of the gallery and museum.

edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin