The Grace Machine: Of Turns, Wheels and Limbs


  • Lars Spuybroek Georgia Institute of Technology, Architecture



The following essay revolves around the notion of the figure and its relationship with grace. The figure, both object and event, is posited as what emerges in what is called ‘the gap between habit and inhabitation’. The essay is structured in three parts that each contribute to the argument that habit and inhabitation are part of the ancient structure of grace, which extends to many domains such as religion, economy and art, but above all to technology. The first part establishes the concept of grace within gift exchange where the aesthetics of gracefulness is not defined by gesture or action, but by the combination of a cyclical rhythm and the verticality of stance. The second part restructures the cycle as one of habit, linking our relationship with technology to gift exchange, while developing the central argument of grace as a machine. The final and third part expands the role of play and mimesis in the functioning of the grace machine while defining the gap between habit and inhabitation as a double gap, consisting of a temporal axis that leads from habit to the figure of grace, which again is suspended between object and field on the spatial axis.

Author Biography

Lars Spuybroek, Georgia Institute of Technology, Architecture

Lars Spuybroek is Professor of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta where he teaches design methodology and aesthetic theory. He is the author of among others The Architecture of Continuity (2008), Research and Design: The Architecture of Variation (2009), Research and Design: Textile Tectonics (2011), and The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design (2011 and 2016). Spuybroek is currently working on a book titled The Grace Machine: Architectures of the Figure (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).


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