Between architecture and language as ‘form of life’

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Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophical writing is characterized by two main books, both acknowledged as major philosophical breakthroughs of the twentieth century: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), and Philosophical Investigations (published posthumously in 1953). Between these two texts, there is a shift in Wittgenstein’s thought on the structure and use of language, which is made evident by his decision to forego the idea of ‘pictorial form’ in favor of ‘life form.’ This transition, which allowed for a new understanding of the relation between the ethical and aesthetic aspects of Wittgenstein’s thought, greatly influenced Paul Engelmann’s understanding of architectural space. Following Wittgenstein’s writing, Engelmann claims that the concepts of ‘the beautiful’ and ‘the good’ are closely related, resulting in a distinct connection between what is beautiful and the concept of ‘form of life.’ In light of the influence that Wittgenstein’s writing had on Engelmann’s architecture, this paper examines the relation between architecture and language as ‘form of life,’ a connection which is suggested in Engelmann’s lecture ‘How to Build in the Kibbutz?’ in which Engelmann uses the term ‘form of life’ in reference to Wittgenstein’s writing on language.

Original languageEnglish
JournalText (Australia)
Issue numberSpecial issue 55
StatePublished - 2019


  • Creative writing
  • Engelmann
  • Wittgenstein
  • architecture
  • kibbutz
  • language
  • philosophy


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