Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience

Routledge
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Why write instead of draw when it comes to architecture? Why rely on literary pieces instead of architectural treatises and writings when it comes to the of study buildings and urban environments? Why rely on literary techniques and accounts instead of architectural practices and analysis when it comes to academic research and educational projects? Why trust authors and writers instead of sociologists or scientists when it comes to planning for the future of cities? This book builds on the existing interdisciplinary bibliography on architecture and literature, but prioritizes literature’s capacity to talk about the lived experience of place and the premise that literary language can often express the inexpressible. It sheds light on the importance of a literary instead of a pictorial imagination for architects and it looks into four contemporary architectural subjects through a wide variety of literary works. Drawing on novels that engage cities from around the world, the book reveals aspects of urban space to which other means of architectural representation are blind. Whether through novels that employ historical buildings or sites interpreted through specific literary methods, it suggests a range of methodologies for contemporary architectural academic research. By exploring the power of narrative language in conveying the experience of lived space, it discusses its potential for architectural design and pedagogy. Questioning the massive architectural production of today’s globalized capital-driven world, it turns to literature for ways to understand, resist or suggest alternative paths for architectural practice. Despite literature’s fictional character, the essays of this volume reveal true dimensions of and for places beyond their historical, social and political reality; dimensions of utmost importance for architects, urban planners, historians and theoreticians nowadays.
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About the author

Angeliki Sioli is assistant professor of architecture at Louisiana State University, USA and a licensed architect in Greece. She obtained her professional diploma in architecture from the University of Thessaly, Greece, and was granted a post-professional master’s in architectural theory and history by the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She completed her PhD in history and theory of architecture at McGill University, Canada in 2015. Her research seeks connections between architecture and literature in the public realm of the early twentieth-century European city. It has been published in a number of edited books and journals, as well as presented at interdisciplinary conferences. She has worked as a professional architect and designer on projects ranging from residential and office buildings to the design of small-scale objects and books. She has also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at McGill University in Canada and University Tec de Monterrey in Mexico.

Yoonchun Jung is originally from South Korea. He received his bachelor's degree in architecture from Hongik University, South Korea (2000), MArch from Cornell University, USA (2007) and PhD in architecture from McGill University, Canada (2015). His research interest focuses on various social, cultural and political phenomena in modern Asian architecture and cities. He taught at Cornell University from 2004 to 2006, The State University of New York at Buffalo from 2006 to 2008 and McGill University in 2010. From 2012 to 2013, he conducted PhD research in Korean architectural modernity at Kyoto University as a Japan Foundation fellow. He has won numerous awards and research grants, and his work has been published in many journals and edited collections. In the summer of 2015, he co-organized the Reading Architecture Symposium with Dr. Angeliki Sioli and Dr. Alberto Pérez-Gómez under the auspices of the Benaki Museum of Athens and the Hellenic Institute of Architecture. He is currently assistant professor at the Department of Architecture of Kwangwoon University in South Korea.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Apr 9, 2018
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Pages
210
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ISBN
9781315402888
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Criticism
Architecture / General
Architecture / History / Contemporary (1945-)
Fiction / Cultural Heritage
Fiction / Urban
History / Social History
Literary Criticism / General
Philosophy / Movements / Phenomenology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Funambulist Pamphlets is a series of small books archiving articles published on The Funambulist, collected according to specific themes. These volumes propose a different articulation of texts than the usual chronological one. The twelve first volumes are respectively dedicated to Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze, Legal Theory, Occupy Wall Street, Palestine, Cruel Designs, Arakawa + Madeline Gins, Science Fiction, Literature, Cinema, and Weaponized Architecture.

The Funambulist Pamphlets is published as part of the Documents Initiative imprint of the Center for Transformative Media, Parsons The New School for Design, a transdisciplinary media research initiative bridging design and the social sciences, and dedicated to the exploration of the transformative potential of emerging technologies upon the foundational practices of everyday life across a range of settings.

Vol. 10 is devoted to the topic of Literature. The idea that architecture can be created through narrative is popular in some academic circles. It seems a fruitful approach to the discipline as it unfolds an important imaginative field. It also envisions a resistance to various forms of architectural teleology, since fiction is usually based on the disfunction of the environment in which it is set. For this reason, we could go as far as to affirm that fiction operates in contradiction to the traditional design method. The word "literature," however, is not often pronounced by the people who seem to promote this creative method. The following texts intend to think of literature as a powerful field of ideas that translates to other creative disciplines. This translation should never be literal, and for this reason, some fictions that evoke architecture - Franz Kafka's and Jorge Luis Borges's labyrinths, for example - might be paradoxically more difficult to properly translate than less immediately spatial novels. The following texts do not propose any translation of their own but rather offer a humble toolbox in order to do so. This volume also constitutes an opportunity to archive the four texts written for the first event of Archipelagos (Brooklyn, November 2011), an non-institutionalized gathering of people conversing around a given topic. The first event was dedicated to literature and four architects were invited to talk about four authors they chose (Kerouac, Artaud, Dostoevsky and Pessoa) in the first half of the event, while the second half consisted of an open conversation generated by the presentations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction: Architectural Narratives -- By Revealing the Existence of Other Worlds, the Book is a Subversive Artifact -- Jack Kerouac: The Rooms, the Dioramas, the Maps (by Sofia Krimizi) -- Fernando Pessoa: Heteronyms (by Carla Leitão) -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The Tyranny of Logic, the Voice of Blood, and Inner Disharmony (by Martin Byrne) -- Antonin Artaud: Sacred Matter -- Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society (by Antonin Artaud) -- "My Desire is Someone Else's Fiction" -- Short Approach to the Notion of Commodity for William Burroughs and Karl Marx -- William Burroughs's Interzone: The Space of the Suspended Law Contained in the Thickness of the Line -- Coriolanus and the State of Exception -- Destructive Beauty: The Stendhal/Mizoguchi Syndrome as Seen by Yukio Mishima -- The Faustian Pact of the Artist: Hell Screen (by Ryunosuku Akutagawa) -- Desexualizing Sade: Relations of Absolute Power on the Bodies from Sodom to Abu Grhaib -- The Precise Design of Torture in Kafka's Penal Colony -- Minor Literature -- The Kafkaian Immanent Labyrinth as a Postmortem Dream -- Computational Labyrinth or Towards a Borgesian Architecture -- The Two Architectures of the Infinite Possible Worlds: Leibniz's Pyramid & Borges' Garden of Forking Paths -- George Orwell: The Post-Ideological Man -- Tower of Joy, Ulan Bator, April 1992
Arising from the philosophical conviction that our sense of space plays a direct role in our apprehension and construction of reality (both factual and fictional), this book investigates how conceptions of postmodern space have transformed the history of the impossible in literature. Deeply influenced by the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of fantastic texts in which the impossible is bound to space — space not as scene of action but as impossible element performing a fantastic transgression within the storyworld. This book conceptualizes and contextualizes this postmodern, fantastic use of space that disrupts the reader’s comfortable notion of space as objective reality in favor of the concept of space as socially mediated, constructed, and conventional. In an illustration of the transnational nature of this phenomenon, García analyzes a varied corpus of the Fantastic in the past four decades from different cultures and languages, merging literary analysis with classical questions of space related to the fields of philosophy, urban studies, and anthropology. Texts include authors such as Julio Cortázar (Argentina), John Barth (USA), J.G. Ballard (UK), Jacques Sternberg (Belgium), Fernando Iwasaki (Perú), Juan José Millás (Spain,) and Éric Faye (France). This book contributes to Literary Theory and Comparative Literature in the areas of the Fantastic, narratology, and Geocriticism and informs the continuing interdisciplinary debate on how human beings make sense of space.
Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world.

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. 

In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.

Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile

“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist

“A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”—Newsweek
You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.
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