Architectural Generosity: A Preliminary Attempt at a Qualitative Definition

Silvio Carta

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Although in several forms and in different terms, the notion of generosity in architecture has recently received increased attention in contemporary debates, definitions of generosity and its cognates remain sparse and perfunctory, and their connotations generally unclear and in most cases subjective, hinged in the emotional sphere and thus resistant to being measurably related to projects. Moreover, no theoretical framework of architectural generosity has to date been articulated. This article collects the various definitions of generosity, including such cognate terms as abundance, surplus, or superfluity, and deduces the patterns therein to produce a schema of the qualitative characteristics of architectural generosity. By qualitatively describing how scholars apply the notion of architectural generosity, this article provides a theoretical framework for further studies of the phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages12
JournalSpace and Culture
Issue number3
Early online date8 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • architectural generosity, social space, off-program, architectural surplus, free space


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