The foundational problem of ‘Nature’ is the problem of matter and life. Only after the so-called “digital turn”, did architecture confront this problem head on although it still largely obscured the problem from itself by reframing its attention —often falsely and naively— toward the environmental crisis and the fix of ’sustainability’ but did so with outdated and untenable conceptions of the natural world. Architecture has a privileged position with respect to these issues, first and foremost because of its role as a synthesizer of knowledge and because of its unique position among the disciplines as a ‘material practice’ and hence a kind of materialist vitalism. With this in mind, please focus on the thought of a single philosopher covered in this course (see list just below) and one or two concepts of this philosopher as representative of their larger body of thought regarding Nature. Develop within the context of some restricted readings (determined by you) the understanding of what Nature is in relation to us and to what we do—how we ought to think about it, address ourselves to it, operate in and on it. Although you are expected to rely on the materials and readings covered in this course, you are also expected to consult secondary as well as other primary sources by these authors as needed as a way to arrive at a complete statement (or hypothesis) of what is the nature of the thing that architects should understand as the object or milieu on which they operate when they introduce things into, and alter the world. To grasp and to isolate concepts will be of particular value here.

Concepts as tools for executing future work (and assessing the thought of others on the evermore pressing topic of Nature). The second section of your assignment is to apply the ideas you develop within the thought of one of these thinkers to a building, work of art, cultural/historical phenomenon (set of ideas, positions, experiences, etc.). The question is: Can you use these notions to shape your approach to an object or phenomenon and in so doing change how others might subsequently engage it. Keep your text to a maximum of 2000 words (about 7 pages; required bibliography and secondary visual materials not included in this limit). In addition: create a single evocative visual diagram that expresses and accompanies the conceptual arguments you develop in your writing. Feel free to either situate your diagram at the title (first) page, or embed it into the body of the text itself. Heraclitus (PreSocratics) Baruch Spinoza Friedrich Nietzsche Alfred North Whitehead [Gilbert Simondon] Gilles Deleuze Francois Jullien