Jennifer Dempsey, Nicholas Hunt and I submitted a proposal to be editors forPerspecta 49, due to launch in Fall 2016. Perspecta is The Yale Architectural Journal, the oldest student-edited architectural journal in the United States. It is “internationally respected for its contributions to contemporary architectural discourse with original presentations of new projects as well as historical and theoretical essays.” Below is only the Statement of Purpose portion of the proposal… enjoy!


Perspecta 49 proposes that the concept of reflection is a far more complex topic than that of a mirror image. In language, reflection connotes the act of contemplation, often the process in which we draw from our past. It describes an intellectual action that amplifies a line of thinking. In physics, reflection is the interference between two different media, which causes an abrupt change in direction of a wave (light, sound, etc.). The behavior of reflection allows us to perceive an image through light. In mass culture, our desires are reflected as a semblance of a collective identity. Here, reflection becomes an unconscious phenomenon of our shared experience.

Reflection raises issues that are philosophically rich, technologically relevant and culturally significant, rendering it a fertile lens through which to contemplate architecture. Perspecta 49 will bring together various accounts of reflection to consider the ways this prolific term influences the disciplines of art, architecture and culture.

French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan identifies the significance of reflection in the formation of individual consciousness in his work, The Mirror Stage. The Mirror Stage describes the formation of the ego in an infant when it encounters its image in a mirror for the first time. The child’s identification with the mirror image establishes a conception of the subject (self) in relation to the object (external world).1 The system of consciousness identified in The Mirror Stage is elaborated into three realms in Lacan’s larger body of work: the Imaginary, the Real and the Symbolic. These orders will provide three themes in which to ground the discussion of reflection.


Above Image - Architect, Francois Roche, curates the single circulating image of himself which is a photoshopped combination of him and his wife. The image of his firm, ideas of identity, and ‘architecture as entity’ are seen in his hypersensitivity towards copyright, and his concern with public perception.

Images at Top: A baby and its reflection. La Reproduction Interdite by René Magritte.