University of Technology, Sydney
The Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building and the Faculty of Law
3 – 4 September 2014

Architectural scholars have long argued that the sensory bias of architecture towards sight is problematic, reducing habitable space and architectural form to mere images disengaged from a richer experience of space. Socio-legal and critical scholars have similarly argued that lawyers’ obsession with the word and text limits their appreciation of how law is experienced, or authority is generated, through performance.

This symposium will explore the phenomenology of the built environment and law by attending to the full panoply of their sensory dynamics. By facilitating a broader engagement with the sensory experience of civic spaces and buildings associated with the production of justice, the symposium will move beyond existing paradigms to consider how spatial experience, scale, depth, sound, tactility and other phenomena inform, or reflect, the engagement of citizens in the rituals and procedures of justice. By examining legal spectacles such as the opening of the legal year or swearing in ceremonies alongside everyday legal rituals in the trial and on the street, it challenges us to consider law’s pungency, feel and rhythm. In this symposium we ask: how does architecture respond to law, and how does law respond to architecture?

This symposium is inherently inter-disciplinary and aims to interrogate the various ways in which the disciplines of architecture, design and law can breach conventional academic boundaries. The following questions might provide stimuli for contributors:

  • What is the agency of law in the production of space and contextual arrangement of urbanism?
  • What is the role of the architect, and the place of architectural agency, in an era of increased regulation, litigation and overly prescriptive design guidance formulated by committees?
  • How can buildings reflect or shape cultural and political relationships by prescribing certain types of relationships between subject and environment?
  • What can design and art tell us about the ways in which law lays claim to authority and legitimacy, or is experienced as chaos?
  • How are bodies controlled through the production of space?

Registration Fee: $55.00 (including GST)

Keynote speaker: Professor Linda Mulcahy, London School of Economics and Political Science and UTS Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. Professor Mulcahy is currently Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she is the Director of the LSE Doctoral Training Centre and the Doctoral Program in the Law Department. Her most recent book, Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law, has received critical acclaim and has prompted invitations to deliver plenary lectures at conferences across the UK, Australia, USA, France, Portugal and China.

Call for papers
Please send by 26 May 2014 a 300-word abstract and a short cv to Dr Emma Rowden (Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building) by email ( Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 9 June 2014. If you wish to attend the symposium only, please contact Dr Emma Rowden by 20 August 2014. The symposium will take place at UTS on 3 – 4 September, 2014. We intend to publish an edited collection of invited papers following the symposium.