Non-typological Architecture is an architectural research practice begun by Brendon Carlin in 2020. Working with dozens of collaborators, influences, muses and mutants, our research and work are ultimately concerned with praxis as theory embedded in reflection and action, or as a mode of thinking, working and building. Thus, what is at stake for us is the form of praxis and architecture. Given our potential for more interesting and caring worlds, we mustn't merely interpret and represent our situation in various ways; the point is to live it as if it had already changed. We can of course even begin at the scale of our own pen, desk, kitchen or street.
The contemporary city is so often a giant invisibilisation and suspension machine in which the architect is patronised as a kind of magician who alchemically weaves a costume of protection, community, spectacle, spontaneity, and progress for what is instead a macabre carnival where life is treated as mere instrument, as reservoir-for-extraction or as means-to-an-end. The endless expansion of potential for extraction increasingly destroys and uproots, provoking us to adapt, innovate, and do more with less. This increasing destruction and instability are paradoxically masked by a total overabundance of production, games, roles, and distractions, and a plethora of fleeting existential crutches. Thus, we are blindly bound into a downward spiral that only deepens our many crises, and hastens the desertification of the earth. In this desert, we cannot orient ourselves, and nothing radically new is ever allowed to actualise or take form.
Lately, in a seeming paradox, a ‘dissolution’ of architecture, historical typology, old modes of working and planned divisions of space are accompanied by increasingly inperceptable forms of control, regulation, parsing, codification, and capture. The more tightly contained and regulated, the more unplannable and blurry. Despite the fact that this kind of tendency is oppressive because it generates and maintains crisis to which we are obligated to struggle and adapt, our architecture departs from the theory that these tendencies offer a crucial lever. For "where the danger grows, grows too the saving power."
This accelerated uprooting and obligation to adapt treads dangerously close to revealing our absolutely ‘stable’ ground: we are inessential beings and yet we are nature, nature is our limit. Inessentiality becomes a kind of core potentiality when it reveals the fact that we are not predestined to repeat history or our genetic coding, or to do or be anyone or thing, or to live or work in any particular form. As Aristotle discovered but then hastily abandoned, since at least the invention of language, we are beings without any preordained work, destiny or fixed nature – this is precisely why we have a possibility of Politics and Architecture.
But because we live ‘exposed’ on this open, empty stage of possibility, we need and make rituals, forms, and worlds. Here, we can look to specific examples from the history of dwelling and architecture as a treasure-trove of common memories, an archive of (often stolen) world-destroying and generating edges, forms, moments, and rhythms. We can use them. Against the growing desert, we can build places (as parádisos, or gardens) in which we might conceive of, or simply enjoy a more splendid use of our time and our lives.
Non-typological Architecture is concerned with the irreducibility of singular examples of architecture as absolūtus: as manifestations of what we share in common, but at the very same moment, are to each one of us our very own. At our highest ambition, we work to open architecture to new, free and common uses, and thus set the stage for entirely other worlds to actually unfold. "At that point, when we have wrenched it away from fate, happiness coincides entirely with our knowing ourselves to be capable of magic."
registered in the UK as Office for Non-Typological Architecture (ONTA)