Reflexion | Critical Reflexion | Reflexivity for Architectural Theory

How do we build Architectural Theory? How is Architectural Theory shaped by region and context from the global perspective? This question raises some fundamental ‘un-easy-ness’ in architectural idiom. In order to operationalize the channel towards an understanding of the structure of theory or building ‘Architectural Theory’, one needs to understand some fundamental elements or components that negotiate between self and society/ built environment.

The word “reflexion” is a first stage of Architectural Thinking or basic attitude, i.e. how to architecturalize one’s pattern of thinking, feeling, exploring emotive responses towards architecture. The reflexion is a simultaneous process, which is always in action, bringing about various timescapes of memory, experiences, judgments, evaluations, connections with emotions and its implication on values. This is perhaps the basic dimensions that get engaged when one begins to raise some fundamental existential questions regarding oneself, exploring society, culture and architecture. This aspect requires a rigorous process of involvement with the primary architectural knowledge base and information on architectural trends, issues and an understanding of the power structure that produces the architecture of that time.    

The second phase “Critical Reflexion” is about bringing critical theory on reflexion. It embodies the transformative change that happens within one’s own practice and in one’s relation with the society at large, with respect to understanding of architecture, its imperative producers and situational context. The “Critical Reflexion” is an advanced state of mind or an attitude towards architectural analysis and its comprehensive understanding. It brings about transformative changes in understanding of power dynamics, attempting or striving to equalize its critical operations and maximizing the democratization of relations. This stage also enables the process of design thinking and its rationalization through critical engagement..

The “Reflexivity” is reuse or re-do-again with focus, till one has control on where the automotive responses come from and for what cause and effect or situation. It brings about a state of mind that is open for change, able to bring about connectivity, inter-connectivity, systematic connections of various aspects of architecture that brings about its existence. The concept of “Reflexivity” is of connecting emotional intelligence, connecting internal factors to external functions or how emotions are used to build connections and relations that shape architecture and built-environment.  A low reflexivity means that the external conditions are controlling one’s conversation with architecture and may perhaps bring about judgmental values in action while higher reflexivity means one is indifferent to the external situation or that one is able to observe one’s own situation from outside of the sphere, conditions and is able to objectify the architectural situation and bring about a critical spirit or critical space for conversation.

Photo Credit: Manoj Parmar Architects

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