Architectural Emptiness
: On a reinterpretation of the architectural implications of Heidegger's concept of dwelling.

  • Aidan Williams

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis reinterprets the architectural implications of Heidegger’s concept of dwelling. In particular it stresses the importance of the concept of poetry on dwelling that was outlined in ‘... Poetically Man Dwells ...’. This essay from Heidegger’s late period has been less frequently quoted in the literature of the architectural profession than some of Heidegger’s more well known essays. The importance of poetry is developed in this thesis through creative practice explorations of Heidegger’s philosophy supplemented by deep textual analysis.

    By developing Heidegger’s concept of poetic dwelling, it is possible to reinterpret his ideas about building in richer ways than have previously been carried out in architecture. We will discover that space has a particular kind of emptiness that allows for poetic experience. Ways of building that manifest this emptiness can be considered building for dwelling.

    The focus on poetic dwelling unravels previous architectural interpretations of Heidegger’s concept of dwelling. These interpretations tend to focus on the creation of a certain type of product rather than on enabling the poetic dwelling process. Consequently, by shifting this understanding of dwelling new links can be suggested to the work of architectural writers and practitioners who hitherto have not been considered to be Heideggerian.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorLorens Holm (Supervisor) & Mary Modeen (Supervisor)


    • Architecture
    • Heidegger
    • Poetry
    • Practice-led
    • Design
    • Urbanism
    • Dwelling

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