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a PhD in live projects and architectural education

The IYO revisited – part three; and towards a more refined definition of alternative practice

You might have noticed that on the right of this page is a new link to a page entitled Glossary. Following a practice established while I was a Masters student of architecture, before launching into any new theoretical field I like to commence with the deathly dull compilation of key terms and definitions. The Glossary will collate key terms relating to the project, and I’ll be extracting bits and pieces from it to develop things. The definitions are becoming hybridised, with the OED and a certain open-access encyclopedia providing starting points to definitions that will, over time, be expanded with other interpretations from texts.

Yesterday I revisited some of the early definitions of alternative practice that emerged during our work on the Inconspicuous Yellow Office. We started with a brainstorm of terms that we felt defined alternative practice, and this involved into the set of opposing terms used to generate the a series of ‘sliding scales’ – 11 points between two opposing definitions for consultation purposes.

With some minor typographical tweaks I’ve expanded those key terms to include their definitions. I’m understanding alternative practice from the point of view of alternative architectural practice, but there is no reason to suggest these definitions can’t contribute to an understanding of alternative [ art / music / design / _______ ] practice. This being a glossary, the pairings of the opposing terms isn’t expressed here, but if the ‘sliding scales’ are to be re-used in an assessment of alternative practice in architectural education, they’ll become part of the expanded glossary.

anarchic adjective with no controlling rules or principles

collective adjective 1) done by or belonging to all the members of a group. 2) taken as a whole; aggregate. noun an enterprise owned or operated cooperatively

democratic adjective 1) relating to or supporting democracy. 2) egalitarian

ethical adjective 1) relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge concerned with these. 2) morally correct. 3) (of a medicine) available only on prescription

feminist noun relating to or supporting the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of sexual equality

interdisciplinaryadjective relating to more than one branch of knowledge

non-commercialadjective 1) [ not ]concerned with or engaged in commerce. 2) [ not ] making or intended to make a profit. 3) (of television or radio) funded by the revenue from broadcast advertisements. Defined from:

commercial adjective 1) concerned with or engaged in commerce. 2) making or intended to make a profit. 3) (of television or radio) funded by the revenue from broadcast advertisements. noun a television or radio advertisement.

non-hierarchicaladjective 1) not ordered according to status or authority. 2) not arranged according to relative importance or inclusiveness. Defined from:

hierachy noun (pl. hierarchies) 1) a ranking system ordered according to status or authority. 2) an arrangement according to relative importance or inclusiveness. 3) (the hierarchy) the clergy of the Catholic Church or of an episcopal Church. 4) Theology the traditional system of orders of angels and other heavenly beings.

participatory adjective relating to taking part

political adjective 1) relating to the government or public affairs of a country. 2) related to or interested in politics. 3) chiefly derogatory acting in the interests of status within an organization rather than on principle.

process-orientatedadjective aligned, positioned or tailored to noun 1) a series of actions or steps towards achieving a particular end 2) a natural series of changes. Derived from:

process noun 1) a series of actions or steps towards achieving a particular end. 2) a natural series of changes: the ageing process. 3) Law a summons to appear in court. 4) Biology & Anatomy a natural appendage or outgrowth on or in an organism. 5) before Printing relating to printing using ink in three colours (cyan, magenta, and yellow) and black. verb 1) perform a series of operations to change or preserve. 2) Computing operate on (data) by means of a program. 3) deal with, using an established procedure.

provocative adjective 1) deliberately causing annoyance or anger. 2) deliberately arousing sexual desire or interest.

relational adjective relating to the way in which two or more people or things are connected or related. 2) the way in which two or more people or groups feel about and behave towards each other. 3) a relative. 4) (relations) formal sexual intercourse. 5) the action of telling a story.

social adjective 1) relating to society, its organization, or hierarchy. 2) needing companionship; suited to living in communities. 3) relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure. 4) (of birds, insects, or mammals) breeding or living in colonies or organized communities. noun an informal social gathering organized by the members of a club or group.

speculative adjective 1) engaged in or based on conjecture rather than knowledge. 2) (of an investment) involving a high risk of loss.

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