1.10. Architecture of slowness: reflecting on the actions of historical repetitions and loops

Seminar on the 6th July 2022

Source: MButcher

Architecture of slowness: reflecting on the actions of historical repetitions and loops

The presentation focuses on two of Butcher’s recent design projects: the Silt House and Monument to Superstudio. The central aim of this focus is to present how the methodologies used in the design of these works offer alternative architectural design processes to certain contemporary architectural discourses and practices that have emerged from specific philosophical legacies of Modernity. These discourses and practices continue to promote a need for technological progress and efficiency in the design and construction of architectures. This exists in the way the profession of architecture should place greater emphasis on certain design processes focused on computation and cybernetic discourse. These processes not only reduce the space and time for critical reflection but also seek tight allegiance with determinist logics of the market, to drive efficiency in the production of architecture.

As a means of questioning this, the presentation aims to explore how one might propose an architecture of slowness, a concept that, emerged from a reading of Bruno Latour in his essay An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto’ where the philosopher invites us to acknowledge that the ‘time of time […] has passed ’(Latour, 472) and that with this acknowledgement we must embrace a slowness so we can look around, feel and see the world in order to be more aware as we move forward. To help manifest this notion of slowness the chapter will focus on different methodologies of design that seek direct reciprocity with, and reflection on, historical architectures. These processes include performative modes of drawing that seek to mime and re-enact historical works of architecture and art.

Bruno Latour, ‘An Attempt at a “Compositionist Manifesto”,’ 471-490.


Matthew Butcher is an academic and designer. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2009 and 2011), The Architecture Foundation Gallery, London (2011); The Architectural Association, London (2011); Prague Quadrennial, Prague (2011); V&A Museum, London (2012); Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York (2012) and Betts Project, London (2020). In 2020 His work was included in the Architecture Foundation’s publication New Architects 4 which showcased the work of the best architectural designers and practices currently working in the UK. Butcher has contributed articles and papers for journals including Conditions, Architecture Research Quarterly (ARQ), the RIBA Journal and Architecture Today. He was Guest Editor, along with Luke Pearson, of the special issue of Architectural Design (AD) titled Re-Imagining the Avant-Garde: revisiting the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s (2019) and editor of the book Expanding Fields of Architectural Discourse and Practice: Curated Works from the P.E.A.R Journal published by UCL Press (2020).


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