My particular research interest is in the ethical dilemma of designing for others when there is no ‘right’ solution. In designing architecture we can’t possibly avoid interfering with other people’s lives as architecture itself forms part of the framework in which people live; that is, intervening in people’s lives is rather the point. Thus in architecture we can seldom maintain the isolation implied by an ethics of personal responsibility which is, I argue (following von Foerster and Sartre amongst others), the appropriate response to the undecidability of our situation. Indeed architecture is a good example of the more general difficulty of acting in ways that impact on others.
My theoretical work focuses on three areas of theory that are linked by the theme of purpose: cybernetics, existentialism and teleological ethics. My design projects explore the questions of purpose and contingency which become explicit as soon as architecture is considered over time, proposing different ways of relating the use of architecture to the architecture itself.