Call for Papers: Ideas at Home, Housing Concepts in Architecture. sITA – studies in History and Theory of Architecture Journal

In recent years, housing research has spurred a growing interest from architectural historians, theorists and practitioners alike. However, housing studies are still developed mostly outside the field of architecture. The discourse on housing is nowadays taken over mainly by developers, social activists, policy makers and administrators, who reason mostly under the pressure of immediate practicality. Housing is often seen as real estate and short-term thinking over-whelms reflection that could lead to better alternatives for the environment of habitation.

About thirty years ago, Jim Kemeny noticed the loss of conceptual content in housing studies, in spite of the many disciplinary fields involved. He deplored the “epistemic drift”, the tendency towards thinking at “lowest common interdisciplinary denominators”. He argued that housing research should go back into the depth of each discipline’s insights and develop specific concepts and ideas, which in the long run would also enrich interdisciplinary thinking. Following Kemeny’s argument, disciplinary progress has been made in social sciences, but not so much in architecture. This issue of sITA calls for such in-depth explorations of specific notions in the field of housing architecture.

Architecture conceptualizes the inhabited space in a way that cannot be replaced by any other disciplinary perspective. It has its own knowledge-building processes and can provide valuable answers to most of the fundamental questions of housing. With their problem-centred in-sights and concrete explanatory power, architectural concepts are valuable critical and analytical tools for the knowledge on housing. Housing needs architecture. And the other way around, housing is crucial to architecture. Modern architecture was invented through housing; our built environments are mostly made of housing.

This issue of sITA calls for articles addressing housing-related concepts, ideas, and terms, relevant for housing architecture and for its theoretical reflection.

This issue of sITA is looking forward to various approaches able to catalyze architectural housing theory such as:

  • historical research, following how housing-related notions emerged, moved and evolved in relation to changing contexts;
  • theoretical approaches that underscore the social critical value of an architectural or urban concept of housing;
  • terminological perspectives that explore specific housing terms and their translation between languages, cultural idioms and disciplinary codes;
  • project argumentations, developing an inspiring theory for contemporary housing design;
  • imaginary approaches that envision a well-defined idea for housing in the future.

Above all, sITA welcomes papers that demonstrate that ideas about housing are at home in the field of architecture.

A preliminary abstract of 200 – 250 words should be submitted by 22 February 2021. Selected contributors will be notified by e-mail on March 15. The final article should be submitted for review by May 31. Contributions will undergo a double-blind peer review procedure.
Reviews of current events (conferences, recent publications, exhibitions) which are of interest for the fields of architectural history and theory are also welcome. Reviews should be submit-ted by July 1.

All correspondence will be addressed to sita@uauim.ro, to the attention of Dana Vais (guest editor) and Radu Ponta (managing editor of the current issue).

This call for papers with instructions for authors can be downloaded here.

For more information about sITA, the History and Theory of Architecture journal published by the Department of Architectural History & Theory and Heritage Conservation at ‘Ion Mincu’ University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, please visit the journal website.

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