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Archive of the category 'Architecture'

Supposing a Space: The Detecting Subject in Paul Auster’s City of Glass, by Richard Swope

Text source: reconstruction.eserver.org

Focusing specifically on City of Glass, analyzing the relationship between the story’s protagonist and the city he inhabits (or the city that inhabits him), Richard Swope furthers the growing scholarship of Auster’s work and its relation to space through an examination of Auster’s detectives and Henri Lefebvre’s spatial theories. Coming to grips with a shattered reality, Swope argues, Auster’s detective makes a thoughtful excursion into the uncertainties of urban life and the unreliability of the facts that has come to be understood as postructuralist reality.

Supposing a Space: The Detecting Subject in Paul Auster’s City of Glass [printable version]

Richard Swope

1. Paul Auster’s City of Glass, the first book in The New York Trilogy, offers a prototype for metaphysical detective fiction, a genre marked by its use and abuse of the conventions of the classic detective story. While the classic detective arrives at a solution to a crime, the more recent metaphysical “sleuth finds himself confronting the insoluble mysteries of his own interpretation and his own identity” (Merivale and Sweeney 2) [1]. Auster’s work in particular has been recognized for its investigation of such mysteries. As Alison Russell notes, rather than locating a missing person or solving a murder, Auster’s detective “becomes a pilgrim searching for correspondence between signifiers and signifieds” while also undertaking “a quest for his own identity” (72-3). In City of Glass, however, the questor can never arrive at his desired destination, for in this world signifiers are not attached to signifieds, while the distinction between self and other no longer holds. Language (or its interpretation) and identity are not, however, the only “insoluble mysteries” that we confront within the pages of City of Glass; Auster’s novel also explicitly speculates on the nature, or to use Henri Lefebvre’s terms, the production of social space [2], which includes exploring the connections between the production of space and the formation of identity.

Reat the entire text at  reconstruction.eserver.org

Behind the Glass Wall, by Christopher Mason

Photo credit: David McCabe

Image and text source: NY Times

June 7, 2007

WHEN Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., officially opens to the public on June 21, paying visitors will have a chance to explore one of the world’s most celebrated works of Modernism for the first time since its completion in 1949. The diminutive glass-and-steel building and its uncluttered interior, which have barely changed in 58 years, are so spare that it is hard to imagine that anyone ever lived there. But for nearly all that time, it was the constantly used country retreat of its round-spectacled creator, who shared it after 1960 with David Whitney.

For Mr. Johnson, pictured in 1964, and his companion, David Whitney, the Glass House was a comfortable retreat from the world.

Read the entire article at NY Times

Martha Schwartz : Landscapes of Awareness, by Quilian Riano

Image and text source: archinect

Mar 20, 2007

With little care or tact we keep expanding our cities and replacing what was once wilderness with pathetic shrubs in the medians between three car lane avenues. Because we love nature, we put small planters in front of big box stores in the concrete seas that are our suburbs, in what amounts to a desperate effort to humanize the landscape. We love nature so much that we romanticize it, using its image to sell SUVs that in ads, climb idyllic mountains, but in reality are uncritically driven through the increasingly bland (visually and culturally) landscape of sprawl. These are among the arguments laid out to a full Piper Auditorium at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) by landscape architect Martha Schwartz. She concludes that this Quick, Cheap, and (token) Green view of landscape is an increasing problem in the United States and the world. Martha finishes this section of her lecture with a haunting question: What are the long-term effects of a bland landscape on a society and each of its members?


Architecture and interaction design, via adaptation and hackability, Posted by Dan Hill at City of Sound (reblog)

Image and text source: City of Sound

May 23, 2006

Dan Saffer recently asked me to contribute some thoughts on adaptation, hackability and architecture to his forthcoming book Designing for Interaction (New Riders, 2006), alongside 10 other ‘interviewees’ such as Marc Rettig, Larry Tesler, Hugh Dubberly, Brenda Laurel etc. Dan’s been posting their various responses up at the official book site (see also UXMatters) yet he kindly agreed to let me post my full answers below (the book will feature an excerpt).

The questions he posed were: Can products be made hackable, or are all products hackable? What types of things can be designed into products to make them more hackable? What are the qualities of adaptive designs? You’ve spoken on putting “creative power in the hands of non-designers.” How do interaction designers go about doing that? What can interaction designers learn about adaptability from architecture?

Given this, Dan had inadvertently provided me with the impetus to get down a decent summary to a few years’ worth of thinking around this subject. So what follows directly addresses one of the stated purposes behind this blog: to see what we can draw from the culture and practice of architecture and design into this new arena of interaction design – and some of the issues in doing so. (An unstated purpose of the blog – of providing me with an indexed notebook – is also fulfilled!) Here goes:

Can products be made hackable, or are all products hackable?


Remix Mies, an entry on Eikongraphia

Mies van der Rohe – Design Friedrichstrasse 1919

Text and image source: eikongraphia.com

The almost unnoticeable iconography of the `critical’ architecture of Mies van der Rohe has a long ignored overlap with the `projective’ architecture of Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and Alejandro Zaero-Polo (FOA).

In recent years the work of seemingly very different architects such as Asymptote, MVRDV, Claus en Kaan, UN Studio, Wiel Arets, Neutelings Riedijk, OMA and FOA shows striking similarities as a result of a common interest in using iconography in the design-process. This is an effect of the shift from a critical towards a projective practice. At this moment there is an international debate going on between architects that hold on to the critical theory, and architects that think that the critical project is exhausted and has to be replaced by a projective practice. Opposed to a critical architecture that resists consumer society, Robert Somol and Sarah Whiting position a projective architecture that looks for opportunities within the capitalist society and exploits these. 1 To clarify this difference I will confront the critical architecture of Mies van der Rohe with the projective architecture of Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and Alejandro Zaero-Polo (FOA). We might find a partial answer to the question – what does a projective building look like?


Celebrity Architects Reveal a Daring Cultural Xanadu for the Arab World, by Hassan Fattah

Zaha Hadid’s design for a performing arts center for an island in Abu Dhabi.

Image and text source: New York Times

February 1, 2007

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 31 — In this land of big ambition and deep pockets, planners on Wednesday unveiled designs for an audacious multibillion-dollar cultural district whose like has never been seen in the Arab world.

The designs presented here in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of the world’s top oil producers, are to be built on an island just off the coast and include three museums designed by the celebrity architects Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Tadao Ando, as well as a sprawling, spaceshiplike performing arts center designed by Zaha Hadid.

Mr. Gehry’s building is intended for an Adu Dhabi branch of the Guggenheim Museum featuring contemporary art and Mr. Nouvel’s for a classical museum, possibly an outpost of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Mr. Ando’s is to house a maritime museum reflecting the history of the Arabian gulf.

Read the article

Reclaiming the Centre by Marc Boutin

Image source: Mobel Und Wohnen
Text source: evds.ucalgary.ca
Date: Unknown

“The new frame of reference – unlike that of postmodernism and deconstructivism – will no longer be dictated by the unique, the authentic or the specific, but by the universal.”1

It is hard to imagine anyone uttering these words a mere five years ago. In fact, in North America, it can be argued that architectural discourse during the last decade was substantially preoccupied with work defined by the particular, the authentic, and the site-specific. But it was only little more than thirty years ago that the great cultural monolith of modernism began to erode, making way for the pluralistic onslaught of postmodernism. And since that time, our schools of architecture, periodicals, and then cities have witnessed the rise and then demise of historicist postmodernism, deconstructivism, and presently our latest infatuation with authenticity and its tectonic and place-making manifestations.


The Freedom Tower and Remix Architecture

Source: iCommons.org

September 8, 2006

Five years ago on this coming Monday, the World Trade Center ceased to exist. On the way to a dinner party recently on the upper West side of Manhattan, I stopped at the site where it once stood to take some photographs. There’s not much to capture though, as five years after the Twin Towers came down there is still little more than a gaping void in the ground.

What will eventually go up in their place is the Freedom Tower, a long debated and long planned memorial to those who died on September 11. But the rebuild in that space has been hampered by security concerns, power grabs, and what’s of particular interest to the commons community – a debate about the originality of the planned 1,776-foot building.


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