learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

The sexual solipsism of Sigmund Freud

As I start to get into the nitty gritty of the actual original research that will underpin my thesis, a chance encounter with a new edition of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, reprinted this year by Penguin Modern Classics, brought me to the following paragraph.

The physicist’s relativity, which in recent years has changed our whole approach to scientific knowledge, is harder, and therefore easier to understand, tham the social scientist’s relativity. It is not a slogan, but a fundamental statement about truth to say that no social scientist can completely free himself from the prison of his own culture; he can only interpret what he obsevres in the scientific framework of his own time. This is true even of the great innovators. They cannot help but translate their revolutionary observations into language and rubrics that have been determined by the progress of science up until their time. Even those discoveries that create new rubrics are relative to the vantage point of their creator.

A fine caution to any novice social researcher.

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Feedback on your ‘learning architecture’ blog

This landed with an awkward thud in my inbox earlier this week. Having gradually and involuntarily slowed my online output to a torrid sludge of occasional posts over the last few months, the words “I feel very happy to see such a well maintained blog” did at least raise a weak smile. I couldn’t push it to the spam folder without sharing it, although to spare the indignity of the journalists, writers and critics who together work so hard on [ design magazine ] – a publication I used to read regularly and which I respect somewhat, I’ve anonymised this strange attempt to drum up clicks.

Subject: Feedback on your ‘learning architecture’ blog
From: Thomas
Sent: 28 May 2010 11:21
To: James Benedict Browm

Dear James Benedict Brown,

It was fantastic going through your ‘learning architecture’ blog. I found your blog while searching internet for architecture and design related blogs and enjoyed going through your blog. I am very much impressed with your blog posts. As I work in architecture and design industry, I feel very happy to see such a well maintained blog. Keep updating…

I also see a good list of architecture related websites in your blogroll. They are really helpful. While browsing through the list, I thought of asking you whether [ design magazine ] , a leading architecture and design magazine can find an inclusion in the list.

I request you to review [ design magazine ] and consider adding it to the list if you really like our publication. Please access [ design magazine ] at http://www._________.co.uk/

Kindly, do let me know your feedback at thomas@_________.co.uk

Best Regards,
[ design magazine ]
London, EC4

Note to any click-seeking publicists: if you want to flatter my (admittedly insecure) academic ego, I’d appreciate you flattering specific bits of it, rather than just its general online existence…

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About the project

learning architecture is an academic blog of James Benedict Brown, previously a doctoral candidate in architectural pedagogy at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. James passed his viva in September 2012 and graduated the following December.

About the author

James Benedict Brown has worked and studied in England, Northern Ireland, France and Canada. Following the completion of his PhD at QUB, he was appointed Lecturer in Architecture at Norwich University of the Arts. A short bio is here.

About the supervisors

The project is supervised by Prof. Ruth Morrow and Keith McAllister. Prior to his appointment at Qatar University in 2009, Prof. Ashraf Salama also supervised the project.


Click here for the bibliography to date.


Click here for a selection of peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed writing.


Click here for a glossary-in-progress of key terms used in the project.

Conference diary

Conferences and seminars of interest to the project.


All images are used for illustrative purposes only, and the copyright remains with the artist and/or creator. Please contact me if I have misappropriated an image or incorrectly credited it.


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