Towards an A-Typological Architecture



FACES is a Swiss architecture magazine which pursues a theoretical and critical research on contemporary architectural and artistic productions, but which also questions, more broadly, the notion of modernity. The journal proposes an open reflection on themes such as territory, landscape, city and its peripheries, with an emphasis on the question of spatial perception and the constructive materiality of works. Each issue has its own theme, and for n°78, it was "Amodal Architecture".

In each issue, the central double page is dedicated to the theoretical development of an agency or researcher. In this issue, LAN, through its RAAR laboratory, has shared its reflections on the evolution and topicality of its research on typology.


Umberto Napolitano
Marc-Antoine Durand


Infolio éditions


FACES N°78, Autumn 2020

Architecture is a thousand-year-old art. To transform is to explore the historical depth and sedimentary knowledge of the discipline. It means understanding how, each time, architecture has responded to a precise societal need throughout the ages, understanding the different types of spatial devices invented by architects for the same commission. Each program has its own typological history.

Today, and with no doubt, the current health crisis reinforces this feeling, the programmatic mix and the typological reversibility of the buildings sound obvious. In this article, a more radical reflection on the discipline is undertaken, and the a-typological horizon of architecture is targeted.

Starting from a critique of the deterministic project of functionalism, the aim of this text is to revisit the research on indeterminacy carried out by moderns and post-moderns. What were the objectives of their a-functional quest? How did the notion of type move to the point of confusing it with its functional name? What makes these questions new today?

The mutations of contemporary space redefine architecture as a contact surface, as a porous limit to environments, when yesterday we only saw walls, borders, enclosures. By its material simplicity, the a-typological edifice would participate in the immaterial complexity of places, thus opening architecture to a new contextualism.

Faces 78 Article
Faces 78 Article2