Aikaterini Zacharopoulou (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Designing for amusement: From the intention to the interpretation of architectural humour in Post-Modern Britain

Humour as form has been studied in several arts, like painting or music, but not yet in architecture. It is even seen as an accidental, negative quality in buildings. My research aims to show that humour has been part of architects’ intentions and has been interpreted so by critics.

The study argues that such discussions emerged consistently during architectural Post-Modernism in Britain (1970-1990), but remained unstudied due to a prevalence of irony in architectural theory. It is claimed that irony’s potential to be amusing has been downplayed in its theorisation, but also that the theoretical focus on irony has not allowed a consideration of other ways in which architecture can be amusing.

Selected texts and buildings will be studied, through archival research, interviews, reviews of coverage in popular and architectural press, and visits, to uncover different motifs of architectural humour, and explore their reception. Through this project, I aim to allow humour to be accepted and investigated within the discipline, and present its historical significance for architectural design and experience.

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