CfP: Architecture and Bureaucracy: Entangled Sites of Knowledge Production and Exchange. Brussels, 30-31 October 2019

Call for Papers: Architecture and Bureaucracy: Entangled Sites of Knowledge Production and Exchange. Brussels, 30-31 October 2019

Often experienced by architects as a site of imposition and control, the bureaucracy associated with the production of the built environment can alternatively be seen as one of knowledge exchange. It is and has been a unique forum for the expression and discussion of ideas originating in disparate fields. Principles and concerns particular to architecture, interior design, urban design, engineering, construction sciences and technology, meet and met topical issues in sociology and economy, law and politics, administration, management and government sciences and the ethics of public and private interests. These encounters, involving a wide variety of actors and cultures, significantly contribute to the production of architectural thought and to the materialisation of abstract concepts.
The unpublished record of bureaucracy, including planning applications, funding submission files, design, tender and building papers, central, regional and local government documents and company management papers, has been largely overlooked as a source for the study of architectural thought in the twentieth century. Yet it can illuminate valuable theory-practice relays and provide insight into the diverse intellectual traditions that converge in a culture of architecture more generously and inclusively considered. Reading such records as pieces of a powerful yet little understood form of media for architecture, as proposed by Ben Kafka for cultural history artefacts (The Demon of Writing, 2012), can bring out new dimensions in a wide-scope ontology of architectural production.
This conference intends to test such premises welcoming papers that use the record of bureaucracy to illuminate the architectural and extra-architectural cultures of stakeholders in the design, regulation, assessment, approval, funding, specification and construction steps of building creation processes throughout the twentieth century. Proposals may focus on specific case studies of buildings, agents or administrations; discuss the nature, origins and specificities of discourses found in built-environment-related bureaucracy; and/or reflect on the methodological challenges in studying architecture and bureaucracy.
Preference will be given to papers that address one or several of the following subtopics (see the Call for Papers here for the full description):

  • Bureaucracy and transdisciplinary exchange
  • The office: site and subject of bureaucracy
  • Governments as agents of bureaucracy

Abstracts of max. 500 words accompanied by a one-page CV are to be submitted via e-mail to architectureandbureaucracy.arch@kuleuven.be by 30 April 2019.
 

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