Professor Peter Carl

Teaches on Professional Diploma in Architecture-RIBA Part 2 (Free Unit Tutor).

Professor Peter Carl  

  • 1972 - MArch Thesis at Princeton: Cenotaph for James Joyce, combining interests in Joycean city, Cubism + Linguistics, contra 'form-and-space'...research with Michael Graves and Peter Waldman, culminating in an unpublished paper, "Thematic Organisation", opening foray into the nature of architectural meaning...taking aboard teaching from Vidler and Frampton

  • 1973 - installation of NY 5 exhibition in XIII Triennale, Milan, introduction to Tendenza, to Rossi's architecture but also to Novecento Architecture and Urbanism in Milan

  • 1974 - 1976 - Prix de Rome.  I start over, using architectural history of Rome from origins to EUR as a vehicle, under the guidance of Frank Brown, Henry Millon, James Ackerman...I discover proper Classical learning and culture, begin researching origins and nature of city in Mediterranean.  Debate with Tafuri about skyscrapers.  Lararium I, an installation in AAR cortile that summarises research to date, largely orbiting around Virgil's Aeneid

  • 1976 - 1979 - University of Kentucky, lecturing on origins of architecture and teaching studios under the Deanship of Anthony Eardley and with colleagues Daniel Libeskind, Mary McCleod, Jullian de la Fuente.  Roma Interotta, with Colin Rowe and Judy Di Maio, in which I learn a lot about Neo-Classical architecture and city.  Lararium II, an installation in the U Kentucky Art Gallery, plays American settlement motifs off European themes on a recycled medical examining table from the 1920's.

  • 1979 - 2009 - University of Cambridge, design studios and MPhil and PhD Programme in History and Philosophy of Architecture with Dalibor Vesely, also Joseph Rykwert and Wendy Pullan.  First studios taught with David Leatherbarrow, Mohsen Mostafavi and Robin Evans, later with Eric Parry, David Dernie, Carolyn Steel, David Bass, Phil Meadowcroft, Lisa Shell...projects trying to recover orientation within London and European cities, except for a foray into vertical urbanism in Osaka, with David Height.  Proper, systematic development of phenomenological hermeneutics as a fruitful means to situate architecture and urban topography in its culture, and as an orientation to design - central to which is Vesely's concept of a stratification of embodiment and articulation, from his research into Merleau-Ponty.  Deepening of historical understanding of particularly Western architecture and cities from origins to present.  Sabbatical spent researching Plato, Aristotle, and Judeo-Christian primary texts.  Two-part essay "Ornament and Time" for AA Files growing out of research into Le Corbusier, as one of the last architects to care about the traditional inheritance and to rethink it creatively.  “City as Image versus Topography of Praxis”, for the Cambridge Archaeology Journal, developed topography of praxis, offering a typology of the conditions under which ancient cities were seen as 'image', or a single concetto. “The ambiguity of intentions”, for Steemers and Steane (eds),Environmental Diversity in Architecture attempted to reconcile scientific and cultural concepts of 'comfort'.  A substantial Getty-funded archaeological project on Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, was begun with Vivek Nanda, George Michel and Anna della Piccola, but has yet to be published; however for me it yielded the importance of institutional ordering.  “The Godless Temple – organon of the infinite”, for the Journal of Architecture traced the roots of the secular-sacred from German Romanticism to Le Corbusier's concept of ordering, as embodied in his Poème de l'angle croit and his flat at 24 Rue Nungesser et Coli.  “On Depth: Particular and Universal, Fragment and Field.”, in Fragments: Architecture and the Unfinished, ed. W. Oechslin, B. Bergdoll honoured Robin Middleton by seeking to understand the transformation of fragment between traditional and post-Enlightenment cultures, using the literature on icons, Mallarme's Un Coup de des and Le Corbusier's Poème.

  • 2009 to present -  Diploma Design Teaching with Robert Mull and Catrina Beevor in the Free Unit and Director of the PhD Programme in Architecture at the CASS.  An opportunity to rethink everything again, for a fourth time, taking advantage of the CASS investment in design and the conditions for architectural and urban making.  The PhD course sees architecture through the rubric of Practical Wisdom, which combines concrete design issues with their cultural significance as disclosed through phenomenological hermeneutics, in order to better grasp the nature of the ethical claims within late capitalist cities.  The first publication of material growing out of this course was “City, Horizon, Praxis”, in Common Ground, Biennale Reader ed. Chipperfield and this will be followed by another called "Convivimus ergo sumus", in Phenomenology and Architecture, Sternberg and Steiner, eds.  A book on Practical Wisdom and Joyce's Dublin is being put together with Frederick Phillipson.  A related issue, qualifying the over-used concept of 'type', appeared as  “Type, Field, Culture, Praxis”, for an AD Special Issue Typological Urbanism.  More related to ongoing concerns were “Conflict, Justice, Measure”, in Architecture and Justice, N. Temple and R. Tobe eds., in which the origins of the meaning geometry were traced against the transformation from the Ancient Mesopotamian city to the Greek polis; and an essay in AA Files, "Geometry and Analogy, Le Corbusier's Baghdad Veils", grew out of the V+A exhibition put together with Irena Murray, of the RIBA Library - this essay argues that Le Corbusier's use of geometric armatures is analogical, rather than instrumental, as it is mostly in, e.g., parametric design.  


  • PhD in Architecture
  • Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA Part 2



Expertise areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Design of architecture and city


Practical Wisdom

Professor Peter Carl

Free Unit

Professor Peter Carl

Le Corbusier's Olympic Stadium Project

Professor Peter Carl