No. 25 (2023): Enabling Roles of Technology

Technology as a discourse on method and on design

Paolo Tombesi
Faculté de l’environnement naturel, architectural et construit, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Published 2023-05-30


  • Economy,
  • Building Analysis,
  • Project Design,
  • Ideal Types,
  • Industrial Planning

How to Cite

Tombesi, P. (2023). Technology as a discourse on method and on design. TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, (25), 38–47.


What is technology for? What do we mean by it? Which agencies are involved in its development and application? Any attempt to respond to these questions by using established modern scholarship is likely to end up privileging technical 'methods and means' perspectives over social objectives and results. Indeed, the cone of vision of building construction studies has been traditionally set on a specific etymological take of technology, which favours its recognition as a material implementation system (irrespective of its scale) rather than a reflective tool and a strategic planning device for the society that uses it. Yet, with building activity playing such an important role in today's world's socio-economic development and environmental loading, is a broader view of technology needed that, by considering and mixing multiple notions of resources, assets, and externalities, can arrive at complex appraisals of building output, where constructed artifacts are considered both ends in themselves and means in the obtainment of other things? If so, does the appropriate epistemological basis exist for the underlying disciplinary contamination to take place? In an attempt to contribute to its development or consolidation, the present essay suggests the need to adopt specific definitions of technology and employ individual building projects as ideal-typical theory-building opportunities. 


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