While architecture’s discourse seemed to have been muted with the shift from the alphabet to the algorithm (Mario Carpo, 2011), it has more recently emerged that even for the digital it is already not only possible but indeed necessary to construct an archaeology (Greg Lynn, 2013), and this has to be both historical and critical. Log’s ‘Stocktaking’ issue (summer 2013) borrowed Reyner Banham 1960’s instrumental opposition of tradition and technology to resume (or restart) a critical discourse on contemporary architectural practices, attempting to relate them to recent and not so recent disciplinary pasts, while the ‘Ways to Be Critical’ proposed by Volume 36 (Archis 2013, no. 2) seems to reduce the issue of criticality to a series of positions of militant criticism.


Beyond the mediatory function of theory (Michael Hays, 2000) and its problematic tag of authorship and authority (Giorgio Agamben, 2002), this conference proposes that theory, far from dead, extinct or rejected, remains crucial to the discipline. In the age of post-digital architecture and digital materiality, This Thing Called Theory aims to explore current practices of theory.


We have identified three main areas for discussion and argumentation:








Theory as Criticism


Theory as Architecture


Theory as History





Theory as Politics


Theory as Praxis


Theory as Material





Theory as Utopia


Theory as Science


Theory as Media



We invite individual and group proposals for 20 minute papers and full sessions from architectural historians, theorists, designers and practitioners, as well as those working on the issues identified in the synopsis from other disciplines, including film-making, art practice and performance.

Please indicate clearly if submitting a full session panel proposal.


We welcome proposals of papers with the intention or possibility to be supported by or delivered through performance- installation- or film-based presentation.


We welcome contributions that explore contemporary developments and project future trends, as well as those that offer retrospective theoretical and critical interrogations.


Please send a 500 word abstract, including title, and a 50 word biographical note to


[email protected]


and [email protected]


Deadline for abstracts of papers: 4th May 2015


Received abstracts will be blind peer reviewed and we will announce decisions by the 14th of July.


Please note that full papers will be required prior to the conference for panel chairs and to begin the editorial process for publication in the This Thing Called Theory volume of the Routledge ‘Critiques’ series, and for a special conference issue of Architecture and Culture, the AHRA journal.




Thursday 19th - Saturday 21st November 2015