An Irreductive Approach to Architecture


Isabelle Doucet will be giving a talk entitled “Learning from Brussels: An Irreductive Approach to Architecture” at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth (AIB) on 11 March 2009 (starting at 16:30 in the Right Hand Conference Centre).


In Irreductions, the (slightly disguised) concluding chapter of the The Pasteurization of France, Bruno Latour tackles the question what would happen if “nothing can be reduced to anything else, nothing can be deduced from anything else, everything may be allied to everything else”. The question of this lecture is what would happen if such question would be applied to the current architecture and urban renewal situation in Brussels. What are the various laboratories at work in urban knowledge construction and which translation processes take place between them? In terms of architecture theory, an irreductive approach seems to allow research questions to move beyond traditional dichotomies such as bottom-up vs. top-down; software vs. hardware; authoritarian vs. participatory; orchestrated vs. everyday space. To understand Brussels and its so-called ‘crisis in architecture’, an irreductive approach does not only seem instructive, but simply vital.


Isabelle Doucet is currently finalising her PhD research with Prof. Arie Graafland at the Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, Faculty of Architecture (Dep. of Architecture Theory). She is additionally involved in the Cosmopolis research group (Free University of Brussels, Dep. of Geography), and, as a design studio teacher, at the Institut Supérieur d’Architecture de la Communauté Française – La Cambre in Brussels. Isabelle is member of the Editorial Board of Footprint Delft School of Design Journal, (, of the editorial staff of the Urban and Landscape Perspectives Series at Springer Verlag (, and of the Management Council of Constant VZW in Brussels ( She has lectured and participated in research in several European architecture faculties, including the TU Delft, TU Berlin, W&K Brussels, and the Facoltà di Architettura di Alghero (Italy). Currently, she is preparing the fourth issue of Footprint Journal around the theme Agency in Architecture: Reframing Criticality in Theory and Practice (together with Kenny Cupers).

For further information regarding this event, please contact Tammy Lu, tlu[at]


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