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Dissertation Medal Winner 1998

Metaphysics of Architecture: A Reading Through the Works of Jean Baudrillard

Part 1 Dissertation 1998
Daniel Mielgo-Bregazzi
University of Nottingham
Why "metaphysics" of architecture? I feel a certain obligation to justify this title. In all its broadness, the term "metaphysics" has a mere allusive value which may not be academically precise, but a well suited one if what is to be understood here by "metaphysics" is the interrogation beyond those things that already "are", a questioning of why things are" (or why things "seem" to be) the way they are as opposed to why they "are" at all. Why is architecture (contemporary architecture) the way it is and not otherwise? What are the reasons for architecture being as what it is Can we find common circumstances in contemporary architecture which can speak for the language of architecture itself? or rather, are not these common circumstances the language of a given period in, architecture the very language proper to its place and time in history? The ultimate question would be whether or not we can still speak of architecture or of a truly contemporary architecture, whether or not we could still relate to the same thing when we speak of our architecture, an architecture of our age or an architecture proper to vs. It is my hope that in discussing these questions some of the doubts concerning architecture today and those which may also concern other fields for that matter can be brought to light, for the purpose is not to solve the problems, but simply to ask the right questions. Paradoxically, one of the answers, or perhaps the only one, to describe the current state of affairs, in art and architecture, in politics, production, the media, etc., is precisely that are there no possible answers to any specific questions, and that we may only limit ourselves to speculate endlessly on the reasons for things being as what they are. If it is possible that post-modernity (after-modernity) is only characterised by the complete annihilation of meaning and that we can only understand our present world by grasping its fundamental meaninglessness (as Baudrillard is to contend), we may only limit ourselves to exposing this condition rather than attempting to make sense out of what already is, since to rationalize the irrational is to fall into an abyss of meaning. Why then, are things the way they are today and not otherwise? Impossible to say, but interesting to discuss.


"Simulations", trans. by P. Patton, P. Foss and P. Beitchman Semiotext(e), New York, 1986.

"Simulacra and Simulation", trans. by S.F. Glaser, University of Michigan Press, U.S., 1994.

"The Gulf War did not Take Place", trans. by P. Patton, University of Michigan Press, U.S.A. 1995.

Levin, Charles: "Jean Baudrillard: a Study in Cultural Metaphysics", Prentice Hall, Ontario 1993.
Daniel Mielgo-Bregazzi

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