Completed Theses

Amir Djalali – Common Space: Politics and the Production of Architectural Knowledge

Amir writes about the politics of the production of architectural knowledge. His Ph.D. explored the drive towards commonality and collectivity in five episodes taken from the history of Western modern architecture. He taught studios and theory seminars at the Berlage Institute, TU Delft and the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture. In 2013 he co-founded Behemoth Press, a multi-modal think-tank platform devoted to the exploration of the architectural project and the power relations that it entails. Since 2012 he collaborates with the renowned Rotterdam-based architecture office Matteo Mannini Architects.

A.Djalali [at] tudelft [dot] nl

Today we are familiar with definitions of architecture as an integrated, multidisciplinary “networked practice,” which takes its cognitive potential from a “diffused design intelligence.” These definitions were introduced to counter an individual, authorial approach to design which allegedly characterized modern architecture since its beginnings. This thesis aims to overcome such a distinction, showing that, on the contrary, a diffused, collective intelligence was at the core of architectural production since its invention in the 15th century. Renaissance sprezzatura, the monster in Enlightened France, Alois Riegl’s Kunstwollen, Aldo Rossi’s collective memory and the 1970s debate on architectural language are taken as indexes of a Western tradition of collective intelligence in design. Moreover, this genealogy shows that by embracing “collective intelligence” and “projective” practice architecture does not necessarily surrender to constituted political powers and to the forces of the market. On the contrary, this thesis shows how such a practice can be an instance of a positive and constitutive political force—in other words, able to produce the common.

Posts by Amir Djalali

What we should ask ourselves is not “What does this monument mean?”, but “What is this monument capable of doing?”

Regardless of the emergence of rotundity in architectural form the introduction of digital technologies implied deeper transformations in the modes of production of architecture, to an extent to break the consolidated categories that ruled architecture for the past five centuries.

Can a single building symbolize the crisis of an era? The seminar will analyze the crisis of modernism by an excursus on one of its most emblematic failures: the Unesco Building in Paris.

The capital is spectacle to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes a skyline of cement