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Could a ‘Provocateur’ Create an Ethical Shift? Social Values of Architecture Versus Patrik Schumacher

Burcin Basyazici
Yeditepe University
Safak Cudi Ince
Yeditepe University

As a professional and a theoretician of architecture, Patrik Schumacher has become a controversial figure in architecture and ethics discussions lately. After his statements on social housing problems in London (2016), he has been criticised and protested in many stages and even been called a provocateur in a column of The Guardian. However, it was not the first time he brought those criticisms against orthodox values of architecture. In his lectures in AA Graduate School – also in his books and other writings – he had already defined his theoretical perspective regarding ethical discussions of architecture. However, when he started to spread out his opinions on social media platforms, this made those statements more visible and open to fast-track critiques while also staging non-academic reactions to his perspective.

This paper aims to argue the ongoing discussions against Schumacher in terms of the ethical concerns of architecture by questioning the fundamental values of the profession (if any). The paper aims neither to agree nor to disagree with his statements but to understand the ethical perceptions and/or goals of architecture from the societal perspective within this particular case. To achieve this aim, the paper firstly analyses the definition of architectural ethics and continues with positioning the Schumacher-based discussions in this theoretical frame. The article mainly focuses on the discussions on the most visited architectural digital media platforms to understand the motive of the societal reactions. Related platforms have been determined with the help of Alexa Analytics, and the first five of them have been evaluated within the scope. In conclusion, this research proposes to offer a new understanding of what could be contemporary ethical paradigms in architecture with the help of a case, social values of architecture versus Patrick Schumacher.

Patrik Schumacher, ethics, ethical paradigms in architecture, humanitarian architecture, architectural media platforms.

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