Semester III

Session 25

July 13th 2021
at 7:30PM
Location: zoom space

ID: 614 9395 8715
Passcode: 201566


The text “The Theory of Affordances” has been proposed by Jakob Sellaoui (

It is a chapter out of the book: “The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception” by James J. Gibson.

Text Synopsis

* Synopsis by Jakob Sellaoui, Arch. Dipl.Ing.

About the Authors

In reality very few things seem certain. Especially when it comes to the way we relate our bodies to our environments and vice versa. Naturally this involves a necessary trust and involved expectations, that – with or without the involvement of architects – often end in odd and strange results. Assuming the accidental quality of situational irony to be a fundamental condition and consequence of living among other beings, objects and buildings – rather than an architectural “citation device”, then the reality of co-existing becomes a rich and strange field for possibility.

James J. Gibson's Theory of Affordances provides an initial framework from the perspective of what he calls the “ecological approach to visual perception”, in which the perceived offerings of an environment and the possibilities for action of an observer (animals, humans) become complementary. By the means of aligning the selected text alongside personal photographs of everyday situations and recently completed works, THINGS THAT MIGHT LOOK LIKE WHAT THEY ARE investigates architecture as a slippery slope of putting things into relation, where the outcome – for better or worse remains uncertain.*

Jakob Sellaoui is an Austrian-american architect who studied at the Technical University of Vienna (BSc, Dipl.Ing.) and the Tokyo Institute of Technology as a Monbukagakusho Fellow (MEng). He is currently a lecturer at the Institute of Architecture and Design at the TU Vienna. His work and writing have appeared in Japan Architect, Horizonte Magazine and AD among others. He has recently been awarded the 2019 Schindler Scholarship at the MAK Center for Art & Architecture in Los Angeles.