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Formal Strategies in Architecture Wayne Schaap & Wil Lang. Freud and Topographies of the Mind. Has anyone ever gone to sleep at night struggling with a problem and found themselves wide awake in the middle of the night with the answer?. Sigmund Freud.

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Has anyone ever gone to sleep at night struggling with a problem and found themselves wide awake in the middle of the night with the answer?
sigmund freud
Sigmund Freud

Began career as neurologist—seeking physical explanations to mental conditions.

Identifies unconscious tendencies at work in clinical patients and develops psychoanalytic interpretation as a method of identifying and treating these unconscious tendencies.

freud s psychodynamic theory of personality
Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory of Personality

The Structure of the Mind

  • Conscious: The contents of awareness—those things that occupy the focus of one’s current attention
  • Preconscious: The part of the mind that contains all of the inactive but potentially accessible thoughts and memories
  • Unconscious: The part of the mind that Freud believed housed all the memories, urges, and conflicts that are truly beyond awareness or “repressed”
psychodynamic theory of personality
Psychodynamic Theory of Personality

The id: Seeks immediate satisfaction of innate urges. Responds to instinct.

The ego: induces people to act with reason and deliberation and helps conform to the requirements of external world.

Super ego: Motivates people to act in accordance with moral customs.

defence mechanisms
Defence Mechanisms
  • Denial: the refusal to accept an external reality that creates anxiety.
  • Repression: used to bury anxiety-producing thoughts and feelings into the unconscious.
  • Projection: unacceptable feelings or wishes are dealt with by attributing them to others.
  • Reaction Formation: used to transform an anxiety-producing wish into a kind of opposite—behaving oppositely to how one feels.
  • Sublimation: used to channel unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable activities.
psychoanalysis techniques
Psychoanalysis (techniques)
  • Free Association:

Technique used instead of hypnosis to identify traumatic experiences and repressed memories.

  • Dream Analysis

“The interpretation of dreams is the Royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind“

~ Freud

from freud to surrealism
From Freud to Surrealism
  • Reason and Logic dominated society throughout the 19th century.
  • The aftermath of WWI leads many to question the rationality of human behaviour.
  • Art movement known as Dada arises after the war as a reaction against the dominance of rationality and reason as the core of human behaviour.

Defined by Breton as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern”.

surrealism freud
Surrealism & Freud
  • Highly influenced by Freud’s theories.
  • Employed Freud’s psychoanalytic techniques of free association and dream analysis to explore the unconscious mind as an originator of creative ideas free of conscious restrictions.
  • “Excluding the external world and turning towards the inner world of the unconscious, and expressing the inner world visually” (Surrealism in Architecture 4).
from the surreal to the real how this relates to architecture
From the Surreal to the Real: How this relates to architecture

“There is not one surrealism but many, and the significant variances between surrealist practices may function as an underexplored and expansive conceptual territory for architectural thought” (Poetics of Space 3).

Before functionalism, before formalism, there is thought forming in response to the possibilities of architecture to encode desires”

(Surrealism in Architecture).


Has anyone ever gone to sleep at night struggling with a problem and found themselves wide awake in the middle of the night with the answer?

so lets talk about original thought
So lets talk about original thought

To say that one has left certain intellectual habits behind is easy enough, but how is it to be achieved? (Poetics of Space).

How can we arrive at a state of creativity or originality that is free of any restriction placed upon it by reason or logic?

  • Bachelard, G. (1969). The Poetics of Space. Toronto: Grossman Publishers Inc.
  • Corey, G. (2001). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
  • Freud, S. (1989). The Ego and the Id. In P. Gay, The Freud Reader (pp. 628-645). New York: Norton & Co.
  • Hergenhahn, B. R. (1997). An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.
  • Mical, T. (2005). Surrealism in Architecture. New York: Routledge.
  • (1996). The Psychodynamic Model. In N. O. Wilson, Abnormal Psychology: Intergrating Perspectives (pp. 40-49). Needham Heights: Ally& Bacon.