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The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives of Buildings
Buildings are not benign; rather, they commonly manipulate and abuse their human users. Architectural Agents makes the case that buildings act in the world independently of their makers, patrons, owners, or occupants. And often they act badly.
Treating buildings as bodies, Annabel Jane Wharton writes biographies of symptomatic structures in order to diagnose their pathologies. The violence of some sites is rooted in historical trauma; the unhealthy spatial behaviors of other spaces stem from political and economic ruthlessness. The places examined range from the Cloisters Museum in New York City and the Palestine Archaeological Museum (renamed the Rockefeller Museum) in Jerusalem to the grand Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Las Vegas casino resorts. Recognizing that a study of pathological spaces would not be complete without an investigation of digital structures, Wharton integrates into her argument an original consideration of the powerful architectures of video games and immersive worlds. Her work mounts a persuasive critique of popular phenomenological treatments of architecture.
Architectural Agents advances an alternative theorization of buildings’ agency—one rooted in buildings’ essential materiality and historical formation—as the basis for her significant intervention in current debates over the boundaries separating humans, animals, and machines.
This manifesto is a verbal articulation of the authors' visionary theory of how the human body, architecture, and creativity define and sustain one another.
This revolutionary work by artist-architects Arakawa and Madeline Gins demonstrates the inter-connectedness of innovative architectural design, the poetic process, and philosophical inquiry. Together, they have created an experimental and widely admired body of work--museum installations, landscape and park commissions, home and office designs, avant-garde films, poetry collections--that challenges traditional notions about the built environment. This book promotes a deliberate use of architecture and design in dealing with the blight of the human condition; it recommends that people seek architectural and aesthetic solutions to the dilemma of mortality.
In 1997 the Guggenheim Museum presented an Arakawa/Gins retrospective and published a comprehensive volume of their work titled Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not to Die. Architectural Body continues the philosophical definition of that project and demands a fundamental rethinking of the terms "human" and "being." When organisms assume full responsibility for inventing themselves, where they live and how they live will merge. The artists believe that a thorough re-visioning of architecture will redefine life and its limitations and render death passe. The authors explain that "Another way to read reversible destiny . . . Is as an open challenge to our species to reinvent itself and to desist from foreclosing on any possibility."
Audacious and liberating, this volume will be of interest to students and scholars of 20th-century poetry, postmodern critical theory, conceptual art and architecture, contemporary avant-garde poetics, and to serious readers interested in architecture's influence on imaginative expression.
An Essay Concerning the Project considers the practice of architectural design as it has developed during the last two centuries. In this challenging interpretation of design education and its effect on design process and products, Argentinean scholar Alfonso Corona-Martinez emphasizes the distinction between an architectural project, created in the architect’s mind and materialized as a set of drawings on paper, and the realized three-dimensional building. Corona-Martinez demonstrates how representation plays a substantial role in determining both the notion and the character of architecture, and he traces this relationship from the Renaissance into the Modern era, giving detailed considerations of Functionalism and Typology. His argument clarifies the continuity in the practice of design method through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a continuity that has been obscured by the emphasis on changing goals instead of design procedures, and examines the influences of modernity and the legend of the Bauhaus. Architectural schooling, he suggests, has had a decisive role in the transmission of these practices. He concludes that the methods formalized in Beaux Arts teaching are not only still with us but are in good part responsible for the stylistic instability that haunts Modern architecture. Abstract but not abstruse, An Essay Concerning the Project provides clear information for a deeper understanding of the process of design and its results. More so than any other recent text, it shows the scope and richness of the field of speculation in architecture. It presents subtle considerations that must be mastered if an architect is to properly use typology, the means of representation, and the elements of composition and in architecture. Students, teachers, and practitioners alike will benefit from its warning about the deeper aspects of the endeavor of architecture.
The phrase "Pennsylvania German architecture" likely conjures images of either the "continental" three-room house with its huge hearth and five-plate stoves, or the huge Pennsylvania bank barn with its projecting overshoot. These and other trademarks of Pennsylvania German architecture have prompted great interest among a wide audience, from tourists and genealogists to architectural historians, antiquarians, and folklorists. Since the nineteenth century, scholars have engaged in field measurement and drawing, photographic documentation, and careful observation, resulting in a scholarly conversation about Pennsylvania German building traditions. What cultural patterns were being expressed in these buildings? How did shifting social, technological, and economic forces shape architectural changes? Since those early forays, our understanding has moved well beyond the three-room house and the forebay barn.
In Architecture and Landscape of the Pennsylvania Germans, 1720-1920, eight essays by leading scholars and preservation professionals not only describe important architectural sites but also offer original interpretive insights that will help advance understanding of Pennsylvania German culture and history. Pennsylvania Germans' lives are traced through their houses, barns, outbuildings, commercial buildings, churches, and landscapes. The essays bring to bear years of field observation as well as engagement with current scholarly perspectives on issues such as the nature of "ethnicity," the social construction of landscape, and recent historiography about the Pennsylvania Germans. Dozens of original measured drawings, appearing here for the first time in print, document important works of Pennsylvania German architecture, including the iconic Bertolet barns in Berks County, the Martin Brandt farm complex in Cumberland County, a nineteenth-century Pennsylvania German housemill, and urban houses in Lancaster.
Architecture and Modern Literature explores the representation and interpretation of architectural space in modern literature from the early nineteenth century to the present, with the aim of showing how literary production and architectural construction are related as cultural forms in the historical context of modernity. In addressing this subject, it also examines the larger questions of the relation between literature and architecture and the extent to which these two arts define one another in the social and philosophical contexts of modernity. Architecture and Modern Literature will serve as a foundational introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary study of architecture and literature. David Spurr addresses a broad range of material, including literary, critical, and philosophical works in English, French, and German, and proposes a new historical and theoretical overview of this area, in which modern forms of "meaning" in architecture and literature are related to the discourses of being, dwelling, and homelessness.
“Inha Jung has written a fine volume, full of very well informed accounts of events, insightful analyses of projects, and nuanced ideas about the unique flow of architectural and urban modernization in Korea. Jung is a mature scholar who delivers a well-balanced and original account that is both ambitious in scope and delivered in unencumbered and economical prose, with lavish documentation should one want to go further into particular aspects. It is a book that can easily be read and appreciated by people outside the field, in, say, cultural or Korean studies, as well as by those without disciplinary affiliation who are simply interested in Korea.” —Peter G. Rowe, Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard University
Although modernization in Korea started more than a century later than in the West, it has worked as a prominent ideology throughout the past century—in particular it has brought radical changes in Korean architecture and cities. Traditional structures and ways of life have been thoroughly uprooted in modernity’s continuous negation of the past. This book presents a comprehensive overview of architectural development and urbanization in Korea within the broad framework of modernization.
Twentieth-century Korean architecture and cities form three distinctive periods. The first, defined as colonial modern, occurred between the early twentieth century and 1945, when Western civilization was transplanted to Korea via Japan, and a modern way of life, albeit distorted, began taking shape. The second is the so-called developmental dictatorship period. Between 1961 and 1988, the explosive growth of urban populations resulted in large-scale construction booms, and architects delved into modern identity through the locality of traditional architecture. The last period began in the mid-1990s and may be defined as one of modernization settlement and a transition to globalization. With city populations leveling out, urbanization and architecture came to be viewed from new perspectives.
Inha Jung, however, contends that what is more significant is the identification of elements that have remained unchanged. Jung identifies continuities that have been formed by long-standing relationships between humans and their built environment and, despite rapid modernization, are still deeply rooted in the Korean way of life. For this reason, in the twentieth century, regionalism exerted a great influence on Korean architects. Various architectural and urban principles that Koreans developed over a long period while adapting to the natural environment have provided important foundations for architects’ works. By exploring these sources, this carefully researched and amply illustrated book makes an original contribution to defining modern identity in Korea’s architecture, housing, and urbanism.
Inha Jung is a critic, historian, and professor of architecture at the Hanyang University, ERICA Campus.
Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico
The period following the Mexican Revolution was characterized by unprecedented artistic experimentation. Seeking to express the revolution's heterogeneous social and political aims, which were in a continuous state of redefinition, architects, artists, writers, and intellectuals created distinctive, sometimes idiosyncratic theories and works. Luis E. Carranza examines the interdependence of modern architecture in Mexico and the pressing sociopolitical and ideological issues of this period, as well as the interchanges between post-revolutionary architects and the literary, philosophical, and artistic avant-gardes. Organizing his book around chronological case studies that show how architectural theory and production reflected various understandings of the revolution's significance, Carranza focuses on architecture and its relationship to the philosophical and pedagogic requirements of the muralist movement, the development of the avant-garde in Mexico and its notions of the Mexican city, the use of pre-Hispanic architectural forms to address indigenous peoples, the development of a socially oriented architectural functionalism, and the monumentalization of the revolution itself. In addition, the book also covers important architects and artists who have been marginally discussed within architectural and art historiography. Richly illustrated, Architecture as Revolution is one of the first books in English to present a social and cultural history of early twentieth-century Mexican architecture.
Les leçons de Toronto
La recette de l’architecture iconique peut se décrire assez simplement. Il s’agit d’ériger un édifice culturel spectaculaire afin qu’une ville se transforme sous cette impulsion nouvelle. De nombreuses villes occidentales ont adopté cette stratégie de régénération urbaine au vu de l’expérience de Bilbao, une ville d’Espagne qui a engrangé des retombées économiques intéressantes à la suite de la construction d’un musée par l’architecte Frank O. Gehry. Mais au-delà de sa nature stratégique, l’architecture iconique comporte un sens connoté profondément énigmatique. Si les édifices iconiques sont emblématiques de la production architecturale contemporaine, ils doivent bien dire quelque chose sur la société dans laquelle ils sont érigés. Mais quoi ? L’auteur de cet ouvrage a vu émerger un fait singulier dans l’étude de ces édifices iconiques : tous présentent une rupture importante avec leur contexte d’implantation. Il les appréhende ainsi comme des objets dont la logique culturelle consiste à se distinguer de leur milieu (forme iconique) pour ensuite rétroagir sur lui de manière à le transformer (fonction iconique). Il prend pour point de mire quatre édifices de Toronto, l’Ontario College of Arts and Design, le Royal Ontario Museum, l’Art Gallery of Ontario et le Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, la ville ayant connu une véritable renaissance culturelle dans la décennie 2000, alors que pas moins de onze institutions culturelles majeures se sont refait une beauté. Ces leçons torontoises permettent d’entrevoir comment est pensé le rapport au contexte dans la conception des icônes, et comment, de manière générale, ce processus relève d’une tentative d’organisation de sens dans une société en crise de représentation.
Among Borneo's spectacular indigenous buildings, the longhouses, mortuary monuments, and other architectural forms of the interior are some of the most outstanding, and much of the renewed interest in indigenous architecture has focused on the rapidly vanishing or now extinct traditional forms of a small number of surviving examples or recreations. Drawing on the author's extensive research and travel in Borneo, this impressive and original study offers a more comprehensive account of this architecture than any previous work. Organized into two sections, the book first documents and explains traditional built forms in terms of tools and materials, the environmental context, village organization, and social arrangements. This section includes a full discussion of architecture designs and symbolism, especially those dealing with life and death. The author next looks at the destruction or transformation of traditional architecture based on a number of interrelated developments, including religious conversion, Western influence, internal migration, and logging, as well as governmental attitudes and efforts. The book concludes with a discussion of recent efforts to document and preserve traditional structures and turn indigenous as well as colonial architecture into history and heritage.
Insane Asylums in the United States
Elaborately conceived, grandly constructed insane asylums—ranging in appearance from classical temples to Gothic castles—were once a common sight looming on the outskirts of American towns and cities. Many of these buildings were razed long ago, and those that remain stand as grim reminders of an often cruel system. For much of the nineteenth century, however, these asylums epitomized the widely held belief among doctors and social reformers that insanity was a curable disease and that environment—architecture in particular—was the most effective means of treatment.
In The Architecture of Madness, Carla Yanni tells a compelling story of therapeutic design, from America’s earliest purpose—built institutions for the insane to the asylum construction frenzy in the second half of the century. At the center of Yanni’s inquiry is Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, a Pennsylvania-born Quaker, who in the 1840s devised a novel way to house the mentally diseased that emphasized segregation by severity of illness, ease of treatment and surveillance, and ventilation. After the Civil War, American architects designed Kirkbride-plan hospitals across the country.
Before the end of the century, interest in the Kirkbride plan had begun to decline. Many of the asylums had deteriorated into human warehouses, strengthening arguments against the monolithic structures advocated by Kirkbride. At the same time, the medical profession began embracing a more neurological approach to mental disease that considered architecture as largely irrelevant to its treatment.
Generously illustrated, The Architecture of Madness is a fresh and original look at the American medical establishment’s century-long preoccupation with therapeutic architecture as a way to cure social ills.
Carla Yanni is associate professor of art history at Rutgers University and the author of Nature’s Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display.