Brunelleschi, Lacan, Le Corbusier: architecture, space and the construction of subjectivity.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    This major new interpretive work on spatial experience interprets the 15th C demonstration of perspective for today by putting it in relation to contemporary theories of subjectivity and modern architecture. It explores the use of first person singular research, which makes no attempt to conceal one of the fundamental conditions of production of any text: the enjoyment of the author.

    Brunelleschi Lacan Le Corbusier looks at psychoanalysis and architecture as alternate forms of spatial practice. There is an intuitive plausibility to an affinity between our subjectivity and space: both are everywhere and nowhere all around us; we look through them to see the world. The book argues that Brunelleschi and Le Corbusier represent the two poles of spatial experience. It was conceived as a dialogue between Brunelleschi, the renaissance architect who invented perspective, and thereby gave space a geometry and a metric that bound it tightly to an observer; and Le Corbusier for whom – on visiting the Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon for the first time - these bounds began to loosen and space got floaty again. Lacan - their interlocutor - is important for his understanding of visual desire, desire as it manifests in the visual field, which is marked by screening and a peculiar form of turning away.

    This research began with a close look at an implied spatiality in the diagrams of psychoanalysis (an ongoing project), in particular the diagrams of Freud and Lacan. It ends with an account of architectural space as the field for the articulation of identity, desire, and death. It raises the questions, to what extent can we bring psychoanalytic and architectural concepts to bear on each other’s respective provinces; to what extent is there a higher order of coherence that extends across the disciplines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    Number of pages273
    ISBN (Print)9780415419697, 9780415419697
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Perspective
    • Psychoanalysis
    • Modernism
    • space
    • Identity
    • desire
    • Architecture
    • death drive


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