Analysing the reception of contemporary French philosophy in architecture over the last four decades, Adventures with the Theory of the Baroque and French Philosophy discusses the problematic nature of importing philosophical categories into architecture.
Focusing particularly on the philosophical notion of the Baroque in Gilles Deleuze, this study examines traditional interpretations of the concept in contemporary architecture theory, throwing up specific problems such as the aestheticization of building theory and practice. Identifying these and other issues, Nadir Lahiji constructs a concept of the baroque in contrast to the contemporary understanding in architecture discourse. Challenging the contemporary dominance of the Neo-Baroque as a phenomenon related to postmodernism and late capitalism, he establishes the Baroque as a name for the paradoxical unity of `kitsch' and `high' art and argues that the digital turn has enhanced the return of the Baroque in contemporary culture and architectural practice that he brands a pseudo-event in the term `neobaroque'. Lahiji's original critique expands on the misadventure of architecture with French Philosophy and explains why the category of the Baroque, if it is still useful to keep in architecture criticism, must be tied to the notion of Post-Rationalism. Within this latter notion, he draws on the work of Alain Badiou to theorize a new concept of the Baroque as Event.
Alongside close readings of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault related to the criticism of the Baroque and Modernity and discussions of the work of Frank Gehry, in particular, this study draws on Jacque Lacan's concept of the baroque and presents the first comprehensive treatment of the psychoanalytical theory of the Baroque in the work of Lacan.
Nadir Lahiji is an adjunct Associate Professor of architecture at the University of Canberra, Australia. He is the editor of Can Architecture Be An Emancipatory Project? Dialogues on Architecture and the Left (2016). He previously edited The Missed Encounter of Radical Philosophy with Architecture (Bloomsbury 2014).
Table of Contents List of Figures Foreword, David Cunningham Preface Acknowledgment Introduction: Philosophy, Architecture, and the Baroque Subject to Truth 1. Excursus: Variations on the Theme of Baroque Theory and Philosophy Part I: The Philosophical Theory of Baroque 2. The Baroque and Jouissance: Jacques Lacan 3. The Baroque and the Fold: Gilles Deleuze Interlude 1: Theorization of Baroque as `Event' Part II: Modernity, Madness, and the Baroque Criticism 4. Cogito and the Baroque in the Age of Reason: Reading Foucault 5. Baroque Reason and the Madness of Vision: Reading Buci-Glucksmann 6. Theology and the `Baroque Room': Reading Benjamin 7. Culture Industry and the (Neo-)Baroque: Reading Adorno PART III: Architecture and the Theory of the Baroque 8. The Misadventure of Architecture with French Philosophy 9. Digital Neobaroque and the Hyper-Deleuzeans of Architecture 10. Against the `Architectural' Reading of The Fold 11. The Draped Neobaroque: Is It Possible Not to Love Frank Gehry? Interlude: Post-Rationalism and Theorization of the Baroque as Real Part IV: Post-Rationalism and the Adventure with French Philosophy 12. De-Suturing Architecture: Philosophy and Anti-Philosophy 13. Capitalism, Idolatry, and Critique of Neobaroque Ideology Epilogue: The Missed Encounter of Architecture with Post-Rationalism Works Cited Index