Jaschke K (2010) Acting up: Architectural practice as performance. In: S Walker, D Petrescu, T Schneider, R Tyszczuk & F Kossak (Eds) Agency: Working with uncertain architectures (pp. 79–88). London: Routledge
In this chapter Jaschke first undertakes a conceptual critique of the sustainability debate in architecture from the viewpoint of ecological thought models and notions of embodiment and performativity. Secondly, she makes the case that architectural history needs to be understood as one form of embodied architectural practice alongside others, such as design, if it is to engage constructively with the environmental question.
The paper forms part of Jaschke's research on 'ECHO Ecological History of Architecture', and her broader concern with relational philosophies, systems thinking and realist ontologies. The chapter is broadly situated within a lineage of writings on architecture that depart from a phenomenological position, and examines architectural work as an embodied and performative practice by analogy to earlier work in theoretical archaeology by Chris Tilley, Michael Shanks and others. Jaschke claims that the conceptualisation and experimentation with architecture as embodied performance is key to developing a relational-ecological practice in the field that is truly sustainable in the environmental sense.
Jaschke's research for the chapter contributed to shaping an emerging critical, politically and philosophically oriented discourse on the environmental question in architecture, drawing on forms of ecological theory and thought, and contesting conventional 'sustainability' approaches and concepts.
The chapter brings the well established concern with embodiment and performativity in architecture back to architectural practice itself, by casting architectural practice in the widest sense as continuous with architectural products and experience. Secondly, it mobilises anthropological and archaeological theories and models of practice to interrogate conventional modes of operation and practice in the field of architecture.
The ideas put forward in the essay were further developed in a paper presented at the Fixed? conference organised by Plymouth University in 2011. This led to invited lectures at the Hochschule Luzern (BuildingBuilding project) and Texas A&M University. The paper also provided the basis for a panel on ecological history of architecture presented at the 65th SAH (Society of Architectural Historians) meeting in Detroit in 2012.