A Report On Architectural Determinism Anthropology Essay

Oxford english dictionary: “ The philosophical philosophy that human action is non free but needfully determined by motivations which are regarded as external forces moving upon the will. ”

Frequently determinism is related to the ‘will of God ‘ or to ‘fate ‘ . For the psychological theories of behaviorism it is related to the environment environing an being.

Watson, Skinner and behaviourism – Watson developed this school of idea, the premiss of which is that

“ scientific psychological science should analyze merely discernible behaviour and abandon the survey of consciousness wholly. ( Weiten, p. 6,7 )

The survey of consciousness, since it is non discernible, is more bad and less scientific than the survey of discernible behavior.

“ . . .the clip has come when psychological science must fling all mention to consciousness. . . Its exclusive undertaking is the anticipation and control of behavior ; and self-contemplation can organize no portion of its method. ” ( Watson, quoted in Koestler, 1967:19 )

Fostering that construct, Watson stated that in the argument between nature and raising, behavior is determined more by the environment and experience ( raising ) than it is by familial heritage ( nature ) . From that theoretical base behaviorists looked to associate open behaviors ( responses ) to discernible events in the environment ( stimulation ) . Using animate beings for such surveies worked more efficaciously than utilizing human topics since their environments could be better controlled and hence there would be fewer variables impacting their behavior.

Skinner furthered behaviorism with the rule:

“ Organisms tend to reiterate responses that lead to positive results, and they tend non to reiterate responses that lead to impersonal or negative results. ” ( Weiten, p.10 )

Given that rule, Skinner went on to demo that he could exercise singular control over the behavior of animate beings by pull stringsing the results of their responses. This was done through conditioning.

Conditioning ( Weiten, p. 150-181 )

This is a signifier of larning. Learning is a lasting alteration in behavior or cognition as a consequence of experience.


1. you cringe at the sound of a tooth doctor ‘s drill

2. you ride a bike

3. a seal juggles a ball on its olfactory organ.

Classical conditioning– a stimulation acquires the capacity to arouse a response that was originally evoked by another stimulation.

Pavlov ‘s Canis familiaris – ( see Weiten, 1997:152 ) A tone began as a impersonal stimulation – that is, simply a sound. It became a positive stimulation when it was associated with the possibility of nutrient. The presence of the nutrient followed by salivation was an innate association. It did non hold to be learned. Salivation at the sound of the tone was a learned association. It had to be learned. This is known as classical conditioning.

Does it use to human behavior?

1. Phobias – eg. a fright of Bridgess created from a repeated childhood experience. ( Weiten, 1997:154 )

2. Advertising – a merchandise ever seen in association with gratifying milieus or beautiful people.

3. Placeboes – physiological responses.

There are other sorts of conditioning than classical ( where the stimulation precedes the response ) . In some signifiers of conditioning the stimulation follows the response. Behaviour, in other words, is conditioned by the outlook of wages after. B.F. Skinner called thisoperant conditioning.

“ Organisms tend to reiterate those responses that are followed by favorable effects. ”

The Skinner Box – ( Weiten, 1997:161 )

“ Although it is convenient to compare support with wages and the experience of pleasance, rigorous behaviourists object to this pattern, because the experience of pleasance is an unobservable event that takes topographic point within an being. ” ( Weiten, 1997:164 ) Skinner will merely state that the response is strengthened and this is mensurable by the rate of reacting.

Anyone who raises a kid uses operant conditioning. See Weiten pg. 165

If we agree with Watson and Skinner that “ . . . ‘mind ‘ and ‘ideas ‘ are non-existent entities, ‘invented for the exclusive intent of supplying specious accounts ” ( Koestler, 1967:21 ) so the lone motive for our actions will come from some signifier of conditioning. In other words, our behavior is determined by external forces. Is one of those external forces architecture?


( Jon Lang, Creating Architectural Theory, pp. 100-108 )

This construct of conditioning -stimulus-response ( SR ) of classical – has been extended by some to include the reinforced environment. There are four basic places

1. Free-will attack

Suggests that the environment has no impact on behavior.

2. Possibilistic attack

Perceives the environment to be the afforder of human behavior but nil more. A set of chances upon which action may or may non be taken. Eg. a cup is on the tabular array. I choose to make full it up with H2O or non. It does non do me thirsty.

3. Probabilistic attack

Assumes that human behavior is non wholly freakish. The environment does impact behavior but there are many variables.

“ Given an person Angstrom with attributes a, B, degree Celsius, set in an Environment Tocopherol with features vitamin Ds, vitamin E, degree Fahrenheit, and with the Motivation for action M it is likely that A will execute Behavior B. ”

4. Deterministic attack

Implies a simple cause-effect relationship between the environment and behavior. For some this meant better architecture could do better people.

Environmental determinism– it is nurture within the scene of our geographical, societal and cultural environments, instead than nature, our heredity, that shapes our values and behaviour.

Physical determinism– the nature of the geographic environment determines people ‘s behaviour. There is, for illustration a relation between civilization and clime.

Architectural determinism– alterations in the landscaped and architectural elements of the environment will ensue in alterations in behaviour, peculiarly societal behaviour.

There are many designers who thought architectural determinism was valid.

“ During the 19th century, with the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the large-scale migration of rural workers to the metropolis, many societal critics became cognizant of the strong correlativity between the unpleasant conditions in which people lived and their societal and psychological conditions. It is easy to reason that altering the built environment would alter non merely the life conditions but besides the life style and aesthetic values of the people concerned. The whole societal and beneficent motion of the latter portion of the 19th century, which culminated in the garden metropoliss motion led by Ebenezer Howard ( 1902 ) and the settlement-house strategies, was imbued with the spirit of architectural deterministic beliefs. ” ( Lang, 1987:101 )


In 1836, Pugin published his book Contrasts. In it he puts frontward a instance for returning to the Gothic manner of architecture. For him, Gothic architecture represented the revealed truth of the Catholic church. Further, he believed that, “ since Gothic architecture is divinely ordained it is non marked by human imperfectnesss but is an ineluctable world. ” ( David Watkin, Architecture and Morality, 1977:19 ) He saw architecture as an instrument for the attainment of societal policy employed to accomplish purportedly ‘moral ‘ terminals.

It is here that we can see the beginnings of the relationship between architecture and truth, and so excessively the relationship between that truth and the betterment of the human status. If architecture can be ‘true ‘ so it can besides state a prevarication. This belief runs through The Humanistic disciplines and Crafts motion in England and can be readily seen in the beliefs of such disparate designers as Wright and Corb.


Architecture or Revolution

Revolution can be avoided. He stated that ‘the house machine is healthy ( and morally so excessively ) ‘ ( see p. 13, Towards a New Architecture )

Decoration ( and with it the Renaissance and the Baroque ) was seen as immoral. Hence he looked for pure signifiers. The cone, the domain, the cylinder. These signifiers would travel architecture beyond manner. For much the same ground he found the reason of the applied scientist more to his liking ( p.19 )

Watkin points out that Corb ‘s base in Vers une Architecture is:

‘what is simple, purportedly functional, and mercenary in purpose, visible radiation in coloring material, and instantly intelligible in signifier, enjoys advantages in footings of wellness and morality over other different or more complex solutions. This it must be imposed on society every bit shortly as possible if we are to avoid revolution. ” ( p.40 )

Bruno Taut picked up this subject in his book Modern Architecture ( 1929 ) ( see Watkin p 40 )

The same impression held true for CIAM in the 1930s and 40s. “ the public lodging motions in many states were based on a series of premises sing the impact of architecture and urban designs on human behaviour. ” The CIAM conferences all “ exhibited a belief that through architectural and urban design all sorts of societal pathologies could be eliminated. ” ( Lang, 1987:102 )

This carried through into the work by Oscar Newman and his book, Defendable Space, every bit good.

“ The physical environments we have been constructing in our metropoliss for the past 25 old ages really prevent such cordiality and deter the natural chase of a corporate action. ”

The response to that perceived job is to alter the physical environment. This changed environment can so alter behaviour


KOESTLER, Arthur.The Ghost in the Machine. London: Pan Books, 1967.

LANG, Jon.Making Architectural Theory. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. , 1987.

Le CORBUSIER.Vers une Architecture.Trans. By Frederick Etchells, Towards a New Architecture. New York: Praeger Publ. , 1960.

WATKIN, David.Morality and Architecture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977.

WEITEN, Wayne.Psychology: Subjects and Variations( Briefer Version 3rd Edition ) . Pacific Grove, CA, Brooks/Cole Publ. Co. , 1997.