The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bihter Almac

Research Subject

Designing in a State of Distraction: The Wild Fields of Architecture

First and second supervisors 


Distraction is in-between place of consciousness and unconsciousness. It is an undesirable and usually discarded state of the mind because of its unknown and unexpected nature. It is not possessive either; its traces only arise from its disappearance. This doctoral thesis is an attempt to investigate the selfless formation of distraction, rooted in oscillations between consciousness and unconsciousness, as the means to provoke design creativity.

My claim is that distracted creativity exists in the ‘wild fields’ of architecture where exist the non-conscious realities of the imagination. The performance of distracted creativity also displaces the architect within the design process as it compels them to defer to their unconscious, unknown self. Through this process of distracted creativity, the architect and the architecture they produce co-exist together, and reflect upon each other in ambiguous ways. Distraction frames both of them in their dispersed, schizoid condition.

For the purposes of my research, distracted creativity is introduced initially as a self-quest in distracted creativity, through a series of experiments which I have called ‘Improbable Architectures’. Secondly, the topic is studied via speculative writings and interviews on the work of John Hejduk, asking whether his projects were indeed exercises in distracted creativity.

Following these two methods of defining what distracted creativity might be, the full concept of distracted design practices will be analysed through a series of design projects. This constitutes the main body of the thesis, and the purpose of these design projects is to position and explain distracted creativity in its intrinsic relationship with architecture.