Indefinite Workings : What Dwellings Elicit and On What Architecture Depends

Singer, Manuel. 2015. Indefinite Workings : What Dwellings Elicit and On What Architecture Depends. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis starts from an analysis of contemporary serviced apartments as they re-order and re-emphasise the importance of immaterial qualities in housing. They show that privacy, comfort and freedom as well as happiness, well-being and ease are not unequivocally positive ends which dwellings establish but that they are made possible in such a way that benefits for further capitalisation can be drawn from them. With serviced apartments, immaterial qualities are important for reasons other than people's good.

This understanding of immaterial qualities opens up further investigations of dwellings that analyse the efficient entanglements of architectural design, productions of subjectivity and technologies of power. It shows that dwellings imply incorporeal engagements which are theoretically conceived as events, desires, foldings, diagrams, nomadisms, suspense and disavowal. And it analyses the consequence that these imperatives are not bound to any categorical architectural forms or functions but are identifiable, on a historical scale, in the many different ways in which dwellings were materially organised and, in terms of visual cultures and literature, in instances of life and living that can only be accessed in their particularities.

Based on these organizations of immaterial qualities, this thesis proposes to understand dwellings as programmes which make living productive according to particular regimes of power, which work because of intensities that are experienced and made sense of and which are conceived architecturally in terms of appropriating the infinite, virtual and unaffected potential these intensities impassibly imply. This thesis claims that architectural design strategies which are meant to make dwellings serve people's good recognise workings that are in principle indefinite but actualise them so as to serve a capitalisation of living.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


architecture, housing, dwelling, immaterial, incorporeal, intensity, power, apparatus, programme, assemblage, design

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


30 November 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Dec 2015 13:52

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:13


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