June 2017


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 37 March 2012

Theory of architecture

Kapustin Pyotr V.

PhD (Architecture), Associate Professor,
Head of Chair of Architectural Design and Urban Planning,
Voronezh State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering,
Voronezh, Russia


It has been for several centuries now that the utopian tradition and architectural discourse have been shaping - through interaction, collisions and flexions – a multi-faceted "folded" reality, which cannot but be taken for architectural design proper or, at least, for what it has emerged from as an independent organized entity.

However, whereas utopianism has now become deeply rooted in professional architectural thinking and has had diverse effects on the development of design methods (including those relating to the experience of overcoming utopianism), Utopia still is on the agenda of architectural design and its capabilities have not been fully utilised.

The ambiguity of this situation appears even more complex considering the fact that today utopia in architectural (and product and, partly, town-planning) design is considered to be nearly as much as the only foundation of the entire construction of design thought! The only alternative – rational design methods actively promoted during Functionalism and, especially, in the context of the design methods approach – has not come round as something fully fledged and equal to architectural experience (in contrast to, for example, engineering design, in which these methods have taken root).

The theory and early methodology of architectural design aspired to get rid of and overcome utopian intentions extensively maintained in design activity rather than studying and purposefully utilizing them in conformity with their nature. Moreover, they tended to be ignored whilst boosting the aspects of design that seemed to stand against utopias, i.e. rationalistic, quantitative, analytical, scientific and other ways and means. Given its long experience in dealing with utopianism, the design culture of the last half a century has overlooked the instrumental capabilities of utopia as a style of thinking. It is characteristic of rationalistic design methodology that is unable to capture the most important hidden thing in design thinking - that it leaves a gaping void amidst answers given by it to issues of theoretical reconstruction of creative design processes. This may be viewed as a lesson to be drawn with regard to important areas of research into architectural design thinking and, probably, this is where we can see new horizons for progress in architecture.

Key words: utopia, architectural profession, architectural design, modernism, design theory, design methodology

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-50147 of 06.06.2012 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017