The Context Debate: An Archaeology

Context is a crucial concept in architecture in spite of the frequent ambiguity around its use. Although the consideration of context is intrinsic to the process of architectural design, in contemporary theory, little attention is paid to it. By way of contrast, in the 1950s, various architects, theorists, and teachers cultivated several perspectives on context as a way of addressing some of the ill effects of modern architectural orthodoxy. Although a topic of layered and productive debate in the post-war years, context fell into disrepute in the critical architectural discourse of the 1980s. This paper provides an archaeology of the context debate in the hope that it may be possible to reveal its forgotten dimensions and flexibility.