Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, Welsh School of Architecture, senior lecturer in architecture.
AAUP Book Jacket and Journal Show, Scholarly Illustrated Category winner, for Heidegger's Hut, 2007.
(Editor, with Jo Odgers, Flora Samuel) Primitive: Original Matters in Architecture, Routledge (New York, NY), 2006.
Heidegger's Hut, photographs by Digne Meller-Marcovicz, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Heidegger for Architects, Routledge (New York, NY), 2007.
Adam Sharr is a writer and educator with an expertise in architecture. He serves as a lecturer at the University of Cardiff in Wales, where he is on the faculty of the Welsh School of Architecture. In addition to his academic duties, Sharr has edited a volume on the basic foundations of architecture, Primitive: Original Matters in Architecture, in collaboration with Jo Odgers and Flora Samuel. He is also the author of several books that address the work of Martin Heidegger, including Heidegger's Hut, which is illustrated with photographs by Digne Meller-Marcovicz, and Heidegger for Architects.
In Heidegger's Hut, Sharr offers readers a meditation of sorts on both philosophy and architecture as he delves into the life and work of Martin Heidegger, focusing on the period of time he spent working in the small three-room hut that he built for himself on the border of the Black Forest. Heidegger used the hut primarily as a place where he could think in solitude, as well as write about those thoughts and findings. Heidegger chose the isolated location because he was, at least initially, escaping from technology, which he felt created too small a world, with everyone only a phone call away. Sharr writes about the hut itself, which was lacking both phone service and electricity when Heidegger first built it, only acquiring those modern services later on. But the construction of the hut itself—the size of the rooms, type of lumber, and the photos that chronicle its growth, are only a portion of Sharr's book. His primary interest in Heidegger's hut revolves around the theories that the man worked on while in residence at the hut, and the process that led him to them. Even then, Sharr is interested in process—the act of delving into one's own mind and thinking deeply. He advises architects to spend time philosophizing, and likewise advises philosophers to spend some time considering the process of designing and building a structure. While architects or students of architecture might take something different from the book than a lay reader, there is no need to have any previous grounding in architecture in order to understand Sharr's work. In a review for the Hermitary Web site, a contributor remarked: "Sharr's book is on first glance simple but intriguing. Ultimately he presents a juxtaposition of geography and creativity, of space and thought, of temporality and body … an intriguing account of the role of the hut and the ramifications of the meaning of the hut, in the life of Heidegger. He takes Heidegger's case as the beginning of an examination of the relationship of dwelling and thinking."
Mark Kingwell, writing for the Wilson Quarterly, observed that "Sharr's detailed study of the structure, the first of its kind, marries architectural precision with philosophical interest to create a handy guide to this famous, perhaps notorious, house." Though the architecture of the hut itself is relatively simplistic, Sharr manages to bring out the greater philosophical underpinnings that relate to Heidegger's need for such a place, and his choice of location as well. He questions whether Heidegger would have come to the same conclusions regarding technology and liberalism had he been living in the middle of a city rather than against the forest with a mountain at his back? Was it the solitude itself that aided in the birth of Heidegger's ideas, or would his own thoughts and nature have led him down that path eventually regardless of location? Kingwell also noted that Sharr's "book also offers nicely turned though all too brief contributions on the importance of place in architectural thought by Simon Sadler and Andrew Benjamin, two leading theoreticians of the built environment," providing a broader picture of this relationship between place and the mental process.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Chronicle of Higher Education, January 26, 2007, Nina C. Ayoub, review of Heidegger's Hut.
Times Literary Supplement, April 6, 2007, Josh Cohen, review of Heidegger's Hut, p. 33.
Wilson Quarterly, winter, 2007, Mark Kingwell, review of Heidegger's Hut, p. 105.
Hermitary,http://www.hermitary.com/ (March 25, 2008), review of Heidegger's Hut.
MIT Press Web site,http://mitpress.mit.edu/ (March 25, 2008), author profile.
Roy Christopher Web site,http://www.roychristopher.com/ (January 7, 2007), Roy Christopher, review of Heidegger's Hut.