Transactions; or Architecture as a System of Research Programs

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

    298 Downloads (Pure)


    This study of the historiography of architecture and the built environment develops the thesis that well-known modernist histories of architecture, such as those written by Reyner Banham, remain unable to appraise the many nuances and complexities that characterize modern architecture. It is argued here that, among other reasons, they are unable to do so because they follow a fundamentally hermeneutic trajectory, on the one hand, and because they are strongly reliant on elements of historicism, as defined by Karl Popper, on the other.
    In order to confront the inabilities that stem from these two causes, the study reflects on Karl Popper’s investigations on knowledge, science, and society; and more specifically, revises the architectural historian Stanford Anderson’s attempts to use the work of Popper and Imre Lakatos (one of Popper's critics and collaborators) for the appraisal of architecture.
    Key among this work is Imre Lakatos’s formulation of a methodology of scientific research programs, of which Anderson tried to produce a qualified version for the appraisal of architectural design. This study evaluates that qualified version, paying special attention to the examples utilized to present it at work.
    Subsequently, a tripartite counter-example is advanced as a development of the examples used by Anderson to present his qualified version at work. Together, the study of Anderson’s approach to the work of Popper and Lakatos, and the description of three architectures understood as parts of an architectural research program, confront the hermeneutic trajectory and the elements of historicism identified in modernist architectural historiography, and provide new elements for the appraisal of modern architecture.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Delft University of Technology
    • Avermaete, Tom, Supervisor
    Award date16 Oct 2018
    Print ISBNs978-94-028-1190-2
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-028-1190-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Jorge Alberto Mejía Hernández (Cali, Colombia. 1972).
    Architect (1996) with post-graduate Magister degrees in History and Theory of Art and Architecture (2002) and Architecture (2008).
    Designer, among other private and public projects, of the San José de Castilla public high school (2009) and the Bosa Justice Center (2004), in Bogotá, Colombia.
    Author of Enrique Triana: Obras y Proyectos (2005) and the catalog for the XXI Biennial of Colombian Architecture (2006). Co-editor of Writinplace: Investigations in Architecture and Literature (2016) and Footprint 22: Exploring Architectural Form, a Configurative Triad (2018).
    Associate Lecturing Professor at the Colombian National University (2007 – 2015), currently working as a researcher and teacher at TU Delft (since 2010).


    • architecture
    • architectural historiography
    • architectural theory
    • architectural heuristics
    • architectural methodology
    • methodology of research programs
    • Imre Lakatos
    • Stanford Anderson
    • Karl Popper
    • Reyner Banham


    Dive into the research topics of 'Transactions; or Architecture as a System of Research Programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this