How does an ANT approach help us rethink the notion of site?

Albena Yaneva, Brett Mommersteeg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Although ANT has travelled far, reaching increasingly more domains and diverse non-humans, site has not yet been subject to its scrutiny. At the same time, despite its prominent status in architecture, site has received limited attention in architectural and planning theory: reduced either to an empty container, to a silent nature ‘out there’, or to a social construction. Following the design and construction of a major cultural building in Manchester, UK called Factory, by the world leading firm OMA, in this chapter, we prepare the groundwork for a different account of site.
Instead of re-thinking what site is, we follow the work of site-ing that includes the moves of placing and spacing simultaneously the built and the site itself, nature and culture, technologies and meaning. Tracing how site matters in design, and how architects, planners, and engineers account for it, work with it and according to it, site emerges as a set of movements to follow. Not a simple resource in potentia, passively waiting the intervention of an adventurous designer in it, or a mere exercise in cultural fiction, site is rather a moving aggregate. One that travels with great speed. To trace its composition, a fast-moving ethnographer is also required; one who dares navigating through a complex ‘minefield’ of dispersed locales-of-practice, slowing down, site-ing herself and recalibrating further the ANT toolkit to be able to contribute to the growing polyphonic composition of the Factory site.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to actor-network theory
EditorsAnders Blok, Ignacio Farias, Celia Roberts
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315111667
ISBN (Print) 9781138084728
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • site
  • Actor-Network Theory (ANT)
  • architectural theory


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