Reading Architecture with Freud and Lacan: shadowing the public realm

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Reading Architecture with Freud and Lacan – Shadowing the Public Realm methodically outlines key concepts in psychoanalytic discourse by reading them against key modern and post-modern architects. It begins with what is arguably, the central concept for each discipline by putting the unconscious in a dialectic relation to space. Each subsequent chapter begins with a detail in architectural discourse, a kind of provocation that anchors each excursion into the thought of Freud and Lacan. The text is cyclical, episodic, and cloudlike rather than expository; the intention is not simply to explain the concept of the unconscious but, to different degrees, perform it in the text. The text offers powerful critiques of current planning practice, which has no tools to address our attachment to places. It concludes with powerful critiques of our incapacity to change the environmentally damaging ways we live our lives, which is an effect of our incapacity to recognise the presence of the death drive in our nature. The text is an extended thesis – spanning the chapters – that the field of the Other is the common grammar that organises subjects into civilisations, which has consequences for how we treat the public realm in architecture, politics, and the city. The field of the Other is a slightly different slice through the urban social world. It shadows – but does not correspond exactly to – more familiar categories like private/public, inside/outside, figure/ground, or piazza/boulevard.

Reading Architecture with Freud and Lacan should be of interest to anyone who is interested in how the environment we build is a reflection of our desire. Psychoanalysis is one of the great humanist discourses of the 20th century. This book will be of interest to the humanist in architects, planners, and social scientists, whether they are students, professionals, or amateurs. It will be of interest to historians of the 20th century, to psychoanalysts and architects who are interested in how their respective discourses interdigitate with each other and with other discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages174
ISBN (Electronic)9780429022845
ISBN (Print)9780367077983, 9780367077980
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Philosophy
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Urban Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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