The Aesthetic as an Aspect of Praxis: Architectural Design as a Cooperative Endeavor

Erik Axel, Janni Berthou Hermansen, Peter H. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Commonly the aesthetic is understood as sensuous private pleasure, which other people cannot experience, but maybe talk about, and on the other hand as created by individual artists' talents. We will attempt to bring the aesthetic back into praxis by arguing that aesthetic experience is tied to Gibson’s notion of perceptual systems. The article builds on observations of a design project for a community center in a Danish village. We argue that the aesthetic is shared pleasure resulting from struggles by participants in praxis, where aesthetic, material, functional, ethical, political, and economic aspects are formed by each other in a dialectic process. The struggles are found in the community council's reasons for starting the process, in the design and construction process and the use of the results. This means that descriptions of the aesthetic appearance of buildings should incorporate relevant discussions and struggles of the design, construction and use of the building, and that aesthetic experience is enriched the more aesthetic experience it is based on. It also means that the key to a fruitful ongoing collaborative process producing good aesthetic designs comes from managing together the many aspects of praxis in an open way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOutlines. Critical Practice Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)26-46
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • The Aesthetic
  • Perceptual systems
  • Aesthetic experience
  • Praxis
  • Contradiction
  • Coordination
  • Design

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