Footprint 37: Architectural Theories, their Performance, Quality and Effect: An Appraisal


As an Architecture Theory Journal, over the past fifteen years Footprint has examined different theories of architecture, trying to define the principles that should determine the practice of our profession, and to justify a course of action for its future development. Like other journals of its kind, in the past years Footprint has studied architecture in relation to trans-disciplinarity and agency, ecology and technology, populism and the welfare state, participation and institutions, cybernetics and digitalism, conflict and exchange, neoliberalism and logistics; using queer, critical and formalist theories linked to phenomenology, continental philosophy, semiotics, and ontologies of care.

Amid such diversity of topics and approaches, it is less common for this and other comparable journals to examine the different theories they use to develop their topics in relation to each other, especially in terms of their performance. Tacitly, the different theories architects and scholars use and study are often taken for equal. This does not mean, though, that there is no benefit to be found in trying to appraise them as instruments of thought and action, at least in terms of their quality and effect.   

Based on this realization the question we intend to examine in this issue of Footprint is therefore if it is actually possible, useful, or even necessary to appraise theories of architecture. If so, what would be the purpose of their appraisal, who should do it, and when should it take place? If one considers, for example, that any theory of architecture is directed at the practice of architecture, should the former be evaluated through the latter? If so, how? And what would this mean, on the other hand, for theories that are deliberately formulated to dwell above practice? How can they be ‘judged’ — or don’t they have to be? Are at least some theories of architecture like scientific hypotheses, which can be tested, corroborate or refuted? Or should they rather be taken as means of pure, unfettered, and therefore unmeasurable understanding? Should we even expect theories of architecture to be appraisable?

Invariably, we quietly assume that architects' and scholars' ventures into theory will somehow help them to better understand their work as researchers, educators or practitioners. Hoping for the ‘improvement’ of that work, we strive for explanations that are ‘better’ than the ones we had — but how can we tell they are? How do we appraise theories? How can we tell ‘good’ theories from ‘bad’ ones?

On these grounds we invite original contributions that elaborate on the above and other derivable questions in methodological, theoretical, or historiographical terms. We are especially interested in convincing, evidence-based arguments for/against the appraisability of theories of architecture; and we also encourage contributions that actually develop creative and careful appraisals of one or more theories, describing the methods employed and justifying the value of their appraisal.

Proposals for full articles (6000–8000 words) and review articles (2000–4000 words) will be evaluated by the editors in the form of abstracts (max. 1000 words for full articles, max. 500 words for review articles) based on originality, methodological and conceptual clarity, pertinence, and contribution to the growth and development of knowledge on the subject. Abstracts must be submitted by 3 May 2024.

Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to develop their contributions by 6 September 2024. Full articles will go through a double-blind peer review process, while review articles will be evaluated by the editors. We ask authors to refer to the Footprint author guidelines, available at:

All contributors are responsible for securing permission to use images and copyrighted materials.

For submissions and all other inquiries and correspondence, please contact editors Jorge Mejia Hernandez and Jasper Cepl at

Footprint 37 will be published in the autumn of 2025.