University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

The end of a metaphor and the collapse of the thinking subject

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 04:17 authored by Loo, S
Architecture sustains particular systems by which thinking is organised. It appears that the relationship between architecture and philosophy is not straightforwardly metaphorical, because metaphors themselves ere only possible because of an idea of architecture. The understanding of the architectural object as the exemplary articulation of inside and outside protects a metaphysics: it maintains a division in philosophy between metaphor and reference, visible and invisible, material and thought, internal subject and external milieu. This paper firstly posits a reworking of the philosophy-architecture relationship through a brief critique of conservative 'phenomenological' appropriations in architecture of Martin Heidegger's posthumanist notion of dwelling. This critique provides the impetus to investigate the implications of the end of the architectural metaphor for the construction of the thinking subject - a subject whose capacity for thought is always already an a priori divisive condition for its visibility as a subject - through two works. Firstly, surrealist Roger Caillois's study of legendary psychasthenia, a mental condition associated with an unconscious automatism in which the space between an organism and its milieu collapses. And secondly, Gilbert Simondon's concept of individuation which does not rely upon an [sic] pre-established consistent humanist model of the individual, in which the 'subject' and 'thinking' in the thinking subject need to be theorized as ontogenetic: continuously being brought into existence through practices that change the conditions of genesis each time. Architecture no longer provides the division between the subject and its milieu for thinking to occur, or for the subject to be thought, but it is the very taking-piece of relations between thinking and subjectivity.


Publication title

Building Designing Thinking: 3rd International Alvar Aalto Meeting of Modern Architecture


Karl Jormkka, Esa Laaksonen






School of Architecture and Design


Alvar Aalto Academy

Place of publication


Event title

International Alvar Aalto Meeting of Modern Architecture

Event Venue

Jyvaskyla, Finland

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2008 Alvar Aalto Academy

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in built environment and design

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania