Principles for Architectural Ethics

By Martin Düchs.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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One cannot talk about there being any outstanding tradition of systematic thinking about moral issues in architecture; in fact, only few attempts exist to make ethical deliberations concerning the actions of an architect. At the same time, architecture is extremely important for the single human being and society, and can therefore be understood as a basic human need, at least in the long run. So there is a discrepancy between the importance of architecture on the one hand and the ethical contemplation of the requirements of its orign and its specific problems on the other hand. Taking this assumption as a starting point, in this paper I will
i) describe the discrepancy between the importance of architecture and the absence of ethical deliberation about it
ii) try to explore reasons for the delineated situation,
iii) formulate systematic requirements for architectural ethics
iiii) suggest that the model of principlism-as it was developed by Beauchamp and Childress for biomedical ethics (Beauchamp/Childress, 6th ed. 2009)-could be a good way to meet the need for systematic ethical deliberation in the field of architecture without getting lost in metaethical debates, and without loosing the connection to traditional moral intuitions regarding architecture.

Keywords: Architecture, Principlism, Biomedical Ethics, Architecture and Morality

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 302.315KB).

Dr. Martin Düchs

LMU-Munich, Munich, Germany

In my work I am trying to combine architecture and philosophy: I studied architecture in Munich (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Paris (France). Furthermore I studied philosophy in Munich. In the last four years I wrote a dissertation thesis on “architecture for the good life. about responsibility, morals and ethics of the architect.” For project description see: http://www.dbu.de/stipendien_20007/914_db.html