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Type: Journal article
Title: Responsive cohesion as the foundational value in architecture
Author: Radford, A.
Citation: The Journal of Architecture, 2009; 14(4):511-532
Publisher: Routledge
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1360-2365
Statement of
Antony Radford
Abstract: In his book A Theory of General Ethics Warwick Fox puts forward ethical principles that explicitly embrace the built environment. The key concept is 'responsive cohesion', in which a 'thing' (creature, community, building) or process (learning, play, design) exhibits mutually beneficial interactions between itself and its contexts, and also between its internal components. This contrasts with domination by one factor (fixed cohesion) or anarchy (discohesion). This paper examines the impacts on the aesthetics, products, skills and discourses of architecture of accepting Fox's proposition that responsive cohesion is the foundational value in a general ethics. In design, achieving responsive cohesion with a context that already exhibits responsive cohesion is then ultimately more important than achieving it internally, although the aim is to achieve both. The largest and most important context is the natural or biophysical environment, because that sustains all other systems. The next largest context is the social environment. Recognising an ethics of responsive cohesion places emphasis on connection (not separation), on collaboration (not individualism) and on buildings as sustaining context (not buildings as objects). A 'perfect' building would respond with a convincing answer to any question about its internal and contextual relationships at local and global levels. This is a difficult achievement, and even acclaimed works of architecture may be far from this ideal.
Description: © 2009 The Journal of Architecture
RMID: 0020094722
DOI: 10.1080/13602360903119553
Appears in Collections:Architecture publications

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