Architecture is for Anthropologists


Firstly a quote from Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson’s the social logic of space,

“The ordering of space in buildings is really about the ordering of relations between people. Because this is so, society enters into the very nature and form of buildings. They are social objects through their very form as objects.” -The social logic of space.


And now the “paranoid neo-functionalist” Michel Foucault,

“I think it is somewhat arbitrary to try to dissociate… social relations, and the spatial distributions in which they find themselves. If they are separated, they become impossible to understand. Each can only be understood through the other.”

Space, Power, and Knowledge by Michel Foucault, Interview with Paul Rabinow,


Not understanding this leads to what Hillier and Hanson call the ‘man-environment paradigm’,


“They separate out a human subject from an environmental object and identify the problem as one of understanding a relation between human beings and their built environment…They move into [a problem definition] in which the physical environment has no social content and society has no spatial content…This we call the man-environment paradigm… space is desocialised at the same time as society is despatialised. -The social logic of space.


In summary spatial-organisation is social and social-organisation is spatial. A theory of spatial organisation, architecture, is a theory of society.