The Inconceivable Agenda
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While the 'unthinkable doctorate' conference aimed at forming the ground for an inquiry that is at once legitimate, necessary and important, its premises, as articulated in the call for papers (see above: Introduction), failed to grasp the conceptual (and institutional, and historical) foundations of what its organisers considered to be 'the current lack' by posing this question through a rhetoric of 'inconceivability'. In a direct response to the conference call, this essay argues that the classical separation of architectural science from architectural practice is all but productive as a starting point for rethinking and broadening the scope of the doctorate as a degree and as an academic process. Surpassing discursive and institutional frameworks upholding and consolidating the seemingly immutable division between architectural practice and the intellectualisation of architecture, we propose to position the doctorate as an investigatory 'project' implicating in equal measure both the university and the profession. 'Thinking' of 'scientific work in architecture' as a genuine architectural enterprise, we consider the doctorate as an institutionally authorised challenge to the disciplinary bases and techniques of architecture itself, that mobilises both theory and practice, however specific or traditional the individual project. The role of the doctorate is thus not simply to test the limits of architectural knowledge, but also the academic tools and media addressing that corpus.
Journal of Architecture
Architectural History and Theory