Claudia Dutson, PhD (RCA)

This research, based in practice, investigates the relationship between the production of architecture and the constitution of worker subjectivities, taking as a case study the work place of late neo-liberal economies and the site of the production of immaterial labour, the exemplar being ‘Campus.’ I will propose that Campus is a typology in its own right, distinct from the corporate headquarters, with its own particular history and genealogy, which produces a specific neoliberal subject through a convergence of managerial and spatial practices.

The typology of Campus will be defined, studied and documented through architectural design methods such as drawing and model-making. Its lineage and relation to other typologies (the university, the research lab, the business park) will be mapped out, its most operational attributes identified and analysed, and its proliferation through other workplace typologies – our own workspaces as architects, artists and academics. The output of the work will be architectural drawings and models as art-practice to be exhibited, the creation of video performances, and writing of a book on Campus.

Campus is an extra-urban workplace typology exemplified by tech-companies Google, Apple and Facebook in the United States. These companies recognise that if work is now one of the most central components of a person’s life – it should be fulfilling and it should enable the realisation of a person’s full potential. The architectural of the Campus is a total environment that includes the provision of wellbeing, the manufacture of shared objectives, and the quest for self-actualisation.

The origin of the term ‘Campus’ is the Latin for ‘field’ – and its first documented use was at Princeton, New Jersey in 1774, with reference to a large field which separated the college from the town. It is a typology premised on a proprietary separation from the public and civic realm. It has further come to designate a particular type of work environment separate from the down-town office, the factory, and the business park. Premised on autonomy and self-sufficiency, Campus engenders a sense of belonging unlike any other workplace – it is the site where employees strive to make a difference, being the best they can be, and find fulfilment through meaningful work. I will investigate the Campus typology through key case studies to explore the extents of coercion and control, the role of management culture, the production of subjectivity through architecture, and critically assess the dependency of these ‘autonomous’ units upon the military-industrial-academic complex.

Think Space, 1:25 model, mirror acrylic, dichroic acrylic, wood, plastic

The Virtual Office, Chiat/Day (1994) design by Gaetano Pesce, redrawn by Claudia Dutson

C V
contact / claudia.dutson@rca.ac.uk