PhD (by project)

I have recently been examined on my PhD (AHRC-funded) at the Royal College of Art, in the School of Architecture. The research Thermal Performance: The politics of environmental management in architecture takes as its premise the ambiguity of environmental design within the organisational management discourses of the knowledge economy. The failure of new buildings to perform as environmentally as they were designed, has been termed the 'performance gap'. I trace the concept of performance in architecture and models of 'sustainable' design and connect them to post-Fordist performance-oriented management processes.

Using J.L. Austin's concept of (and feminist critiques of) the performative through both the written thesis and project I interrogate the various ways in which thermal management is entangled with management, and subjectivity becomes implicated in these processes. The context is specific: the workplace at a moment of convergence between smart technology with architecture; where notionally, agency is given over to autonomous environmental systems to do the right thing, and work environments that are embedded in performative-linguistic company cultures that urge their occupants to ‘do the right thing’ . In other words – where machines do things with fans and boilers, and humans do things with emails, meetings, performance reviews and corporate culture. Two practice-based outcomes revealed where tensions and contradictions of economic growth and productivity become areas of concern.

Material from the project can be found on this website, and information about publications related to the project can be found at the Royal College of Art or Linkedin where information about my teaching work in architecture and design can be found also. To contact me, or request a CV please email.

Claudia Dutson, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art.