This piece asks “what are architectural theory classes for?” What is the purpose of the architectural theory class in relation to architectural design in the curriculum? What is the purpose of the architectural theory class in relation to the formation of the student—their ethical awareness, citizenship, the engendering of their “critical thinking,” even the cultivating of their souls? What is the impact of architectural theory classes on architectural practice once students graduate and work as architects? And does architectural theory make architecture better; both in studio and in the world?

  • “Architectural theory classes are the built-in reflexive space, in […] education, that’s largely practice oriented, that I think is […] essential for attracting curious intelligent reflexive people to our discipline.”

  • “[…] without theory, and the reflective thinking that it entails, architects, they run the risk of submitting to mechanical production, without understanding why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

  • “[…] it is absolutely vital […] that architectural theory becomes the space for debate, for discussing ideas, for countering ideas, for testing things verbally.”

  • “Architectural theory is […] practice in how one conducts discourse in architecture in order that they are able to be ethical citizens.”

  • “… we are trying to train people to be innovative, speculative, deeply creative and deeply contrarian thinkers, working in a medium, whose among its primary strength is its slowness…”

  • “… we don’t have to have a unified theory of knowledge.”



Arianna Corradi

Issue Editor

Joseph Bedford

Senior Editor

Joseph Bedford


Trudy Watt


Joseph Bedford,


Joseph Godlewski, Jake Matatyaou, John May, Ginger Nolan, Bryan E. Norwood, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Meredith TenHoor, and Marrikka Trotter.