Lorens Holm

+44(0)1382 345265
Reader in Architecture and Director of the Geddes Institute for Urban Research
Categories:academic staff


Dr. Lorens Holm is Reader in Architecture and Director of the Geddes Institute for Urban Research at the University of Dundee. At Dundee he runs the Rooms+Cities design research unit, which uses architectural theory to open up a space for designing new forms of city and social life. He has taught at the Architectural Association, the Bartlett, the Mackintosh, and Washington University in St. Louis. He is a registered architect in the UK and the State of Massachusetts.

His teaching/research focuses on the thought threads that link architecture to philosophy, history, psychoanalysis, and machines. Publications include Brunelleschi Lacan Le Corbusier: architecture space and the construction of subjectivity (Routledge 2010) and, with John Hendrix, Architecture and the Unconscious (Routledge 2016). His papers have appeared in The Journal of Architecture, Perspecta, Critical Quarterly, Architecture Theory Review, and Assemblage. He has his PhD in Humanities from the London Consortium Doctoral Program, University of London; his Masters of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; his degree in Philosophy from University College Cardiff.

Research and Teaching

I have two parallel research trajectories:

Theorisations of architecture and its human subject – the occupant – that draw on psychoanalytic and philosophic thinking and literature. This work draws links between the spatial and linguistic environments. It is interesting and it is important because it has the potential to transform the way we think about our relationship to the world we construct in order to live well in it.

Theoretical design approaches to understanding city centres and city edges, the urban/rural interface and the public/private interface. This trajectory is developed in dialogue with my design-led PhD students and my research-led Masters design students in the Rooms+Cities unit.

Recent projects include an architectural critique of Lacanian psychoanalysis and a critical reboot of the polymathic botanist planner Patrick Geddes for the 21st Century.

We use texts and architecture plans, the close critical reading of texts and architectural plans, and the exhibition format, as research tools.

Doctoral Students

I am interested in supervising PhD students who are interested in theoretical design-based research projects on architectures and cities. We are engaged in the close critical reading of architectural texts and plans.

My PhD students’ research is primarily in the area of cities and the public realm:

  • John Dummett, ‘The Figure of the Public in Political Discourse’. Completed 2017
  • Jelena Stankovic, ‘Mapping and Memory in Banja Luka’. Completed 2016.
  • Aidan Williams, ‘Dwelling in Architecture and Heidegger’. Completed 2013.
  • Cameron McEwan, ‘Aldo Rossi and an architecture of analogy’. Completed 2013.
  • Abdulbaset Elfeteri, ‘Mapping the Old City of Tripoli’. Completed March 2012.


Peer review publications – 2 monographs, 1 edited book, 2 edited journal issues, 1 exhibition online catalogue, 6 book chapters, and 14 journal papers:

Lacan for Architects in the Thinkers for Architects series (Routledge) series editor Adam Sharr, 40,000 words, forthcoming December 2017.

The City is a Thinking Machine: the Exhibition, the Archives, the Institute, the Talks (Geddes Institute, 2016) Exhibition catalogue in 4 volumes written, edited, designed by Lorens Holm with Cameron McEwan. 28,000 words. 160 images. https://www.dundee.ac.uk/geddesinstitute/projects/citythink/catalogue/

‘Aldo Rossi and the field of the Other’ in John Hendrix and Lorens Holm, eds., Architecture and the Unconscious (Routledge/Ashgate, 2016) 8000 words

Architecture and the Unconscious (Routledge/Ashgate, 2016) co-edited with John Hendrix including co-written introduction + 14 peer reviewed papers and a paper session at the annual SAH, Austin, 2014. 110,000 words

‘Real objects’ interview in Jessica Reynolds and Joseph Bedford, eds., Is there an Object-Oriented Architecture: philosopher Graham Harman’s radical reading of Heidegger is discussed by six eminent architectural thinkers (forthcoming 2015).

‘Architecture and its objects’ in Jessica Reynolds and Joseph Bedford, eds., Is there an Object-Oriented Architecture: philosopher Graham Harman’s radical reading of Heidegger is discussed by six eminent architectural thinkers (forthcoming 2015).

‘Space and its assembled subjects: the neurotic the psychotic and the pervert’ aka the assembled self in Louis Rice and David Littlefield, eds., Transgression: towards an expanded field of architecture (Routledge, 2015).

‘Transparency: effable and ineffable’, book chapter (8000 words) in Henriette Steiner & Kristin Veel, eds, Invisibility Studies: Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture (Peter Lang: New York & Bern, 2015).

‘Psychosis and the ineffable space of modernism’, research paper in The Journal of Architecture vol 18 issue 3 (2013) 8000 words.

‘Glimpsing the real in architecture or the sun always rises’, in The Real: Perspecta 42 (Yale School of Architecture, Spring 2010). Invited introductory essay (5000 words). With contributions by Hal Foster, Keller Easterling, Olafur Eliasson and Kurt Forster.

‘The Cartographers Dilemma’, in The Urban Design Journal, no. 114 Spring 2010, special issue ‘Urbanism in Scotland’ (3000 words). Collaborative project with Paul Guzzardo, Geddes Fellow and independent media activist.

Brunelleschi Lacan Le Corbusier: architecture, space, and the construction of subjectivity (100,000 words). (Routledge, 2010). Supported by AHRC research leave grant, 2007.

Architecture and Psychoanalysis: Haecceity Papers, Special Issue. Guest co-edited with Dr. Tim Martin. (Sydney University Press, Autumn 2008). With papers from the Architecture and Psychoanalysis paper session at the Defining Space conference Dublin Autumn 2008.

Architecture Space Death, in Architecture and Psychoanalysis: Haecceity Papers (9000 words) Special Issue (Sydney University Press, Autumn 2008).

‘What is not architecture’, with Kathryn Findlay (13,000 words), book chapter in WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE?: texts on theory and practice of contemporary architecture (Krakow: Manggha Centre for Japanese Art and Technology, 2008) edited by Adam Budak, translated by Marta Anna Urbanska. Contributions by Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley, Anthony Vidler, Daniel Libeskind. 

‘The Two New Yorkers: identity and image before and after 9/11’, in Architecture Theory Review. vol 12, no. 2, Autumn 2007 (8000words). Routledge Journals ISSN Print 1326-4826 ISSN Online 1755-0475

‘writing Es Aitch Eye Tee on the walls’, in Journal of Architecture vol 12, no 4, Sept 2007, pp 423-36 (6000 words). Routledge/RIBA, Print ISSN: 1360-2365, Online ISSN: 1466-4410. Special issue titled Architecture and Dirt, guest edited by Paul Dobraszczyk and Ben Campkin.

‘Vignettes of Death: Architecture and the Death Drive’, in Critical Quarterly vol 49, no 3, Nov 2007 (8000 words) pp31-59. Blackwell Publishing, Print ISSN?0011 1562, Online ISSN?1467 8705. CQ is a peer review journal of Arts & Letters.

‘Slip of the tongue: reading/writing architecture with an other voice’, Quarterly Architectural Essay, vol 2, no 3, Spring 2007, pp 1-48 (18,000 words). Published by haecceity, the on-line peer review journal of architectural theory and criticism (http://www.haecceityinc.com/homepage.html). ISSN 1832-8237.

‘Is there a digital future landscape terrain’, collaborative project with Paul Guzzardo, in AD: Architectural Design, vol 77, no 2, March 2007, pp 109-111 (2000 words). ISBN-13 9780470034798, ISBN-10 0470034793. Special issue titled Landscape Architecture: Site-Non-Site, guest edited by Michael Spens.

‘The Primitive Hut: fantasies of survival in an all white world’, in Odgers, Samuel, Sharr (eds.), Primitive: Original Matters in Architecture (London: Routledge, 2006) pp. 43-54 (4000 words). ISBN-10: 0415385385, ISBN-13: 978-0415385381.

‘The Speech of Space/ Freud's houses or a tale of three plaques’, Room 5, no 3, 2003, Blackwell Publishing.

‘Supersaturated Space’, preface to Marcos Cruz and Salvador Perez Arroyo (eds.) Unit 20 (Universidad de Valencia/ ACTAR, 2002) (2000 words).

‘The Property Line: Lacan and the Real Estate’ in Meaning, Frame and Metaphor (Amsterdam: ASCA Press, 2002) (4000 words).

‘The Scene of Perspective – the scene of the crime’ in Room 5, no 2, Sept 2001 (4000 words). Blackwell Publishing.

‘The Beauty of Surfaces/ memories of war’ in Room 5, no1, Sept 2000.  Co-founding editor and member of editorial board. Blackwell Publishing.

‘What Lacan said Re: Architecture’ in Critical Quarterly, June 2000. Blackwell Publishing.

‘Reading through the mirror: Brunelleschi Lacan Le Corbusier’ in Assemblage 18 (Boston: MIT Press, 1992).

Harvard Architecture Review 4: Monumentality and the City (Boston: MIT Press, 1984)  The annual Journal of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Member of the editorial board and co-editor.