Architecture as a discursive discipline: inflatable spaces of radical avant-gardes

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2019
Eryılmaz, Emine Burcu
This thesis is an inquiry into the inflatable architecture of avant-garde architects, produced from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Positioning this strand at the transformation of architectural discourse, it starts with the assumption that the period between the late 1960s and the early 1970s marked a paradigm shift in architecture, catalyzed by the technological developments and; social, political and cultural upheavals during this period. This shift represents a break from the conventional definitions of architecture and necessitates to draw a new frame for the boundaries of the discipline. It is the claim of the study that inflatable works of avant-gardes were referred to as tools which made the shift visible, moving outside the conventional boundaries of the discipline into an “expanded field.” As an agent which contributed to the expansion of limits of the discipline, inflatable space provides a ground to discuss the transformation of architectural discourse and helps in identifying the contours of an emerging shift during this period. Through a reading of the inflatable works of avant-gardes, this thesis aims at not only exploring this new generation of architects characterized by their radical and critical ideas but also constructing an overall frame for new elements, concepts and relations emerged in architectural discourse. Briefly, it is a demonstration of how inflatable spaces became creative environments in architectural culture, and accordingly, it seeks to answer the following question: “how the inflatable spaces can be interpreted as tools to read the epistemological shift in architectural thinking?”