CfP sITA 2020: Architectural Aesthetics. An Old Matter Revisited

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An Old Matter Revisited

The 2020 issue of sITA takes interest in architectural aesthetics as a topic that is evaded, or simply banned, from the contemporary discourse.

Trying to highlight the architects’ involvement in topics other than the mere production on form, the heading Less aesthetics, more ethics of the 2000 Venice Architectural Biennale inadvertently opened the way to a specious professional dichotomy. The title has become a tagline encouraging alternative practices of architecture motivated by ethical — environmental and social — concerns, while seemingly dismissing the aesthetic discourse.

Yet, concerns about the nature and expression of beauty had proven fundamental for defining architecture as practice, for writing its theory, for endowing its critique and education with specific instruments even before aesthetics was born. And despite the debunking of the universal truth and beauty, and the collisions between the plurality of subjective truths and the universality of other emergent values and problems, an aesthetic program has always underpinned architecture and is bound to do so in the future. Architectural deliberations on aesthetics have not only once challenged the professional habits and allowed architecture to reinvent itself.

Now, more than ever, when it seems that “anything goes”, when various crises that seem to threaten our world and civilization require new fields of creativity, the power of aesthetic thinking to emancipate architectural theory and to motivate its practice is worth remembering.

We invite contributors to reflect on the architectural aesthetics by examining:

— relevant insights rooted in classical, modern, postmodern and contemporary theory and criticism;

— political instrumentalizations of aesthetics;

— aesthetic discourses in democratic design and planning;

— contradictions and affinities between aesthetics and ethics in architecture;

— autonomy or dependency of architectural aesthetics and art theory;

— aesthetic categories and values explored in modern and contemporary arts appropriated by architectural discourse;

— expressive searches hidden behind other motivations;

— new expressive trends derived from liminal contemporary practices and/or implicit in architecture’s social and environmental interests, etc.

These directions are not restrictive, as the eighth volume of sITA aims to rekindle the interest in architectural aesthetics by assembling relevant lessons from the past, critical assessments of current practices, or past, present and, perhaps, future theoretical constructs of architectural aesthetics and its value.

A preliminary abstract of 200 - 250 words should be submitted by March 23, 2019. Selected contributors will be notified by e-mail on March 30. The final article should be submitted for review by June 10. Contributions will undergo a double-blind peer review procedure by independent reviewers. All correspondence should be addressed to, to the attention of Dr. Arch. Daniela Calciu. Please see detailed guidelines for authors at