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Podcast: “Phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty and Architecture”

Merleau-Ponty book cover

My latest output is a podcast interview with Ambrose Gillick, as part of his fascinating series entitled A is for Architecture:

“In Season 2, Episode 15 A is for Architecture, I speak with architect and writer, Jonathan Hale, Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Nottingham, about his 2017 book, Merleau-Ponty for Architects, published by Routledge as part of their Thinkers for Architects series. Merleau-Ponty was a leading phenomenologist, whose work ‘has influenced the design work of architects as diverse as Steven Holl and Peter Zumthor, as well as […] architectural theory, notably […] Dalibor Vesely at Cambridge, Kenneth Frampton, David Leatherbarrow and Alberto Pérez-Gómez in North America and Juhani Pallasmaa in Finland. Merleau-Ponty suggested that the value of people’s experience of the world gained through their immediate bodily engagement with it remains greater than the value of understanding gleaned through abstract mathematical, scientific or technological systems’ and gives us tools to think about other ways of understanding ‘space, movement, materiality and creativity’ in architecture. Phenomenology was very front-and-centre when I was a student, but has sort-of become implicit in design thinking now, and (apparently) barely needs explaining. Jonathan does explain it though, which I am grateful for, through Merleau-Ponty’s work.

Jonathan’s professional profile is here on the University of Nottingham website, and he can be found on LinkedIn here too. Jonathan tweets on Twitter, so have a follow if that’s your thing, and have a read of Merleau-Ponty’s ‘Body Schema’ on the Body of Theory website, an article Jonathan originally wrote and published in Understanding Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism, edited by Ariane Mildenberg, and published by Bloomsbury in 2019.

Happy listening!”

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Music credits: Bruno Gillick

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Apple: podcasts.apple.com

Spotify: open.spotify.com

Google: podcasts.google.com

Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk

About bodyoftheory

Jonathan Hale is an architect and Professor of Architectural Theory at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham. Currently Head of the research group Architecture, Culture and Tectonics, within the Faculty of Engineering. Research interests include: architectural theory and criticism; phenomenology; the philosophy of technology; the relationship between architecture and the body; museums, exhibitions and digital technologies. Author of numerous articles and books and co-editor of Rethinking Technology: a Reader in Architectural Theory (Routledge, 2007). Founding Chair of the international subject group: Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA): http://www.ahra-architecture.org


One thought on “Podcast: “Phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty and Architecture”

  1. Excellent, I look forward to listening to this episode, and in fact investigating the podcast series. Well done, Jonathan! Hope you’re well, I’m living in Edinburgh while on sabbatical this year.

    Posted by Mark | January 17, 2023, 8:23 am

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Latest Book:

Housing and the City book cover
Borsi, Ekici, Hale & Haynes, eds. Housing and the City (AHRA2020) Abingdon: Routledge, 2022

Latest Article:

CAA Campus, Phase II, Hangzhou, 2003–2007, designed by Amateur Architecture Studio.
Jin, X., Hale, J., Unbinding Architectural Imagination: Wang Shu’s Textual Bricolage in Theoretical Writing and Design: Journal of Architecture, 2023
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