Neil Leach

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


Leach is an architectural theorist who works in an interdisciplinary manner incorporating theoretical ideas from other disciplines into an architectural arena. Camouflage employs theoretical tools from critical theory, anthropology and psychoanalytic theory to rethink our relationship to the world and the role that design plays in that relationship. In so doing, it calls into question the position of phenomenology, which has provided architects with a dominant paradigm for considering such issues. It also addresses the negative critique of design in our image-based contemporary society raised in Leach’s earlier monograph, The Anaesthetics of Architecture (MIT, 1999), and, by contrast, highlights the important social role that design plays in forging a sense of connectivity with the lifeworld. The desire for camouflage is a desire to feel connected, to find one’s place in the world and to feel at home. Camouflage analyses this desire and its consequences for architectural concerns. Design, it argues, can aid the process of assimilation one goes through when adapting to one’s surroundings. Design can provide a form of connectivity, a mediation between the individual and his/her environment, and contribute to a sense of identity. The book has been reviewed in 'The Minnesota Review' (NS67, Fall 2006), Architectural Record (March 2007) and Leonardo (December 2006). The author was interviewed on Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 21 October 2006. Extracts from the book have been published in the refereed journal, Architectural Theory Review (10:1, 2005, pp. 93-104); AA Files (49, 2003, pp. 76-82); Prespecta (33, 2002, pp. 126-33); Elie Haddad (ed.), Contemporary Discourses in Architecture, Beirut: American University, 2004, pp. 231-44; and in Italian in Lotus International (126, 2006, pp. 4-17). A grant from the Graham Foundation supported illustrations in the book.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages289
ISBN (Print)0262622009
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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