POSTPONED … Author Meets Critics: Mark Kingwell, The Ethics of Architecture (Ethics in Context)

Author Meets Critics, Ethics in the City, Ethics in Context

► This event has been postponed until further notice.

The Ethics of Architecture (OUP 2021)

Mark Kingwell
Department of Philosophy
University of Toronto

Martin Bressani
(McGill, Architecture)
Theresa Enright
(UofT, Political Science)
Mary Louise Lobsinger (UofT, Architecture)
Thilo Schaefer
(UofT, Political Science) (moderator)

The Book: The Ethics of Architecture

A lively and accessible discussion of how architecture functions in a complex world of obligation and responsibility, with a preface offering specific discussion of architecture during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the special ethical obligations assumed by architects? Because their work creates the basic material conditions that make all other human activity possible, architects and their associates in building enjoy vast influence on how we all live, work, play, worship, and think. With this influence comes tremendous, and not always examined, responsibility. This book addresses the range of ethical issues that architects face, with a broad understanding of ethics. Beyond strictly professional duties – transparency, technical competence, fair trading – lie more profound issues that move into aesthetic, political, and existential realms. Does an architect have a duty to create art, if not always beautiful art? Should an architect feel obliged to serve a community and not just a client? Is justice a possible orientation for architectural practice? Is there such a thing as feeling compelled to “shelter being” in architectural work? By taking these usually abstract questions into the region of physical creation, the book attempts a reformulation of “architectural ethics” as a matter of deep reflection on the architect’s role as both citizen and caretaker. Thinkers and makers discussed include Le Corbusier, Martin Heidegger, Lewis Mumford, Rem Koolhaas, Jane Jacobs, Arthur Danto, and John Rawls.

The Series: Ethics in Context

The Ethics of Architecture is the first book in a new series, Ethics in Context, published by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, that explores the ethical dimensions of interesting, provocative, and timely questions. Written to be read, and priced to be bought, books in the series are accessible, yet provide something rigorous that stimulates thought and debate, in keeping with the interdisciplinary and inclusive vision that animates the Centre for Ethics at the interface between academic research and public discourse.

Like its institutional home, Ethics in Context takes a broad, contextual, view of ethics: not as falling within the purview of a specific discipline but as a mode of normative analysis particularly well suited for interdisciplinary and public-facing reflection.

This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 4pm, Wednesday, June 9. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other C4E events, and to subscribe, visit

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Wed, Jun 9, 2021
04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
Rm 200, Larkin Building