Supported by Faculty Research Grant, Syracuse University

Research Assistant: Katharina Koerber

The notion of exception offers a critical untapped potential for architecture, though its implementation can be traced through the discipline’s history. Exception as method implies the strategic deviation (formal, political, social or otherwise) from a context, as a means for introducing transformative shifts within the existing environment that resist the status quo. As the increasing uncertainty of our time spurs a recoiling towards impossible absolutes, fostering scarce middle ground and rapid, shortsighted development that exceeds the pace of critical practice, the exception as design method offers a strategy for intervention within these circumstances. Unlike the absolute, the exception derives from its context, becoming a form of resistance when its use defies a norm. Unlike the autonomous, the exception participates within the existing conditions from which it deviates.

This research begins as a catalogue of precedents of architecture as exception, from the “outright opposition” of the formally autonomous to the “camouflaged resistance” of contextual interventions. Though typologically diverse, this survey hopes to find unexpected semblances and hidden commonalities within the broader historical narrative, as a foundation for the development of new architectural modes of exception.