Science Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
October, Volume 2013, ISSN: 2276-6332

© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article


The Architect's Vortex (As Described by Heidegger, Foucault, Wittig, and Others)

María Eugenia Achurra G., M.S. Arch.

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Accepted 29 April, 2013; Available Online 30 October, 2013.



This essay distinguishes relations of authority and control in the spatial arrangement of buildings. More specifically, it concretely describes interactions between particular spatial settings and their performers' producers, promoters, users, and architectural objects, by means of a concept that explains the role of vision and knowledge in post-industrial society: "the vortex." According to this concept, the perceived image has been controlled by its promoters through the imposition of a regime of scarcity, with common logistic intentions. Its visual character is revealed through formal aspects such as uniformity, absolute order, and cosmic rhythm. This attitude affirms the role of progress as short term profits in the interest of those in control, in a world where ends are nothing and development is all. In the traditional "vortex," the works of art carry the cultural prestige of their promoters. When audiences limit their selective possibilities as a result of the promoters´ prestige, "the vortex" takes on a paternalist position. Other emotions such as human affection and expressiveness (commonly related to maternal authority) are excluded from the interpretative process. Therefore, "the vortex" may be considered gender-biased, and if race or class do not exist independently of gender, is it considered race-biased or class-biased as well? In order to gain access to an audience, cultural authority operates through a traditional chain of linear communication. The subjects of this authority generally accept the artifacts and forms of speech traditionally displayed by the communication chain. This cultural chain limits subjects´ selective possibilities. The functioning of this chain depends on subjects´ legitimation, with subjects and promoters of artistic information not considered on the same level. For G. Debord, "the vortex" (known to him as "spectacle") is the main component of Western philosophy, which reduces reality to a world of mere appearances. Visual knowledge permeates the way audiences think and learn. In other words, particular perceptions become the desired social product. What kind of individuals shall this perceptual process create? Opinions are divided regarding this issue. Many theorists' such as Debord, consider that there is a sense of loss involved, carrying individuals to their own intellectual "death." For others, the structure of "the vortex" must always be present, in order to find more realistic alternatives. Thus, the question of how "the vortex" operates remains open.

Keyword:Care, Carnal Knowledge, Equipmentality, Spectacle, Vertigo, Vortex.