Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

The Things of the Order: The Question of Typology

Soolep, Jüri

Project Contact:
Project Type: Research Project
Project Period: 201209 - 201211


"There are many ways to find an order in the phenomena of our life-world. Foucault, referring to Borges, quotes one typology of animals" (Foucault 2006: xvi). The extract of the Chinese Encyclopaedia brings out the arbitrariness of constructing typologies. We usually rely on typologies as trustworthy and generic way of organizing knowledge. Very rarely are the methods and rules of composing a typology questioned.

Architectural typology is traditionally limited to the function, form or structure of the buildings. We look at buildings with similar function like hospitals and describe and evaluate them within their own type. In their essence all formal, functional, compositional, structural or historical propositions about architectural phenomena exhibit constitution of some kind of typology. The rules of creating or perceiving typology thus become generic – they can be suspected to shape the life-world of architecture described by the observer.

Today we face a new social condition that I would like to call imagospheric. Through pan-digitalisation the representational system of societies is changing rapidly. The visualisation and screening of representational system is accompanied with qualities like hybridisation, arbitrary juxtaposition, simultaneity and multitasking. An average and ordinary webpage as a framework of gaze would contain easily the typology described by Borges in the Chinese Encyclopaedia.

For the UMA LSAP “typologies” project we will examine if the current media situation has influenced by the new social representational systems within the build-up of typologisation itself. We will therefore briefly try to establish a formal way of looking at the scope of architectural knowledge; investigate the concept of paradigm by Kuhn and concepts of discourse and statement by Foucault. We will make use of typology of architectural texts by Wayne; investigate the condition of pan-digitalisation and find if all that will give us some more possibilities within architectural education.


Jüri Soolep (1962) is Guest-Professor of Umeå School of Architecture and Rector of Nordic Academy of Architecture. 2002 – 2011 he was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in Estonian Academy of Arts. Since 2001 he was Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design. He received his Doctorate in Portsmouth University in 2001, dissertation - On Realities and Horizons of Design in Architectural Education. 2004 – 2009 he was the member of the Professor´s Council for international doctoral school Villard d´Honnecourt. He was involved in implementing Architectural Policy of Estonian Government. Jüri Soolep has lectured in the universities of Tartu, Oulu, Porto, Cork, Portsmouth, Liverpool, and Hosei Tokyo. Currently he is external examiner in University of Portsmouth and University of Lichtenstein. Jüri Soolep is also partner in the architectural office AB Medium. The current field of interest includes investigations in representations of architectural phenomena, as well as in the archetypal structures and political meanings of the built world.


BibBase soolep, j
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  2013 (1)
Memories of the Future: Creating Stories in the Imagospheric Plenitude. Soolep, J.; and Kalvo, R. In Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2013), volume s. 344-350. Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2013) Singapore : Global Science and Technology Forum, 2013.
Memories of the Future: Creating Stories in the Imagospheric Plenitude [link]Paper   link   bibtex   abstract  
  2012 (1)
The Tings of the order. Soolep, J. In Wspaco Publico e Cidade Contemporenea: Actas do 6 European Symposium on Research in Architecture and Urban Design, Portp FAUP, Porto, 2012.
link   bibtex  

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