Archive for the 'project description' Category

our project: introduction

Architecture does not solely exist in its spatial built form, but also (and sometimes almost exclusively) in several different mediums and/or representations. Several radical proposes from a wide range of architects, like Gaudi, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd-Wright, Archigram or Peter Eisenman exist in the collective memory of the discipline in their unbuilt form, in an array of mediums like texts, plans, sections, details, photographs, renderings, physical models, collages, among others. In this assortment of mediums, architecture has been conceptualized, explained and discussed.


our project: representations of architecture

The representation of architecture has been thoroughly traced and discussed across a broad historical period by architects, architectural critics and art historians alike. For this project, we take as our basis the notion, argued by Alberto Perez-Gomez, that “representation is never a neutral tool” (1998) or a simple depiction of a building, but that architecture has truly been shaped by exploring the tremendous potential and conforming to the inherent limitations to specific mediums.

our project: material and media

The distinct design and spatial experience of the Seattle Central Library has generated a great deal of critical, industrial and popular discourse as evidenced and embodied in documents from a wide-range of sources, in many different mediums, and circulating in a wide variety of social-cultural contexts.

Therefore, we have tried in this project, to assemble materials from various sources, “an information storehouse, orchestrating the coexistence of all available technologies” (Koolhas, referring to the future of libraries) .

Furthermore, the conscious decision was made to select representative examples from each different media, somehow reflecting the idea, argued by Koolhaas, that in the past the main concern was to find information, in the future it will be to select information.

Through the examples on these blog pages and the accompanying mini-essays, we attempt to critically address issues raised by the massive diffusion of this building through multiple media and to establish a connection between architecture and its representations via the topics discussed throughout the quarter in our seminar. We’ve give particular attention to issues of techno-determinism, code, embodiment and the cultural embedment of architecture.

our project: database

N. Katherine Hayles and Todd Gannon write:

Embodied buildings and embodied documents are physical objects witnessing to architectural acts…. architecture partakes fundamentally of the virtual in the Deleuzian sense, a nimbus of potentialities in dynamic interaction with the actuality of buildings and documents.

Therefore, for this project, we have endeavored to assemble a database of documents from multiples sources. We do not pretend that this database is exhaustive or even extensive. It is merely a sampling. To this sampling, we have added our own documents in the form of mini-essays, in which we examine these various media documents, with particular attention to the dynamic tension between the building’s virtuality and its actuality.

The documents appear in no particular order. We have tagged the items with attributes, such as: medium, intention, audience, view, producer, position and source. This allowed us to create associative, but not narrative, links between the items and to reveal some of the disguised connections between this plethora of representation on different levels. The tag cloud (right) allows users to view items via these associations (these syntagms) which are of course merely suggestions.

our project: sources


  • Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Illuminations. New York: Schoken Books: 2004.
  • Fuller, Matthew. Media Ecologies, Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press, 2005
  • Gehry, Frank. “Introduction,” Symphony: Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature, New Horizons for the Literary. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine and Gannon, Todd. “Virtual Architecure, Actual Media,” forthcoming.
  • Kittler, Friedrich. Literature, Media, Information Systems. Amsterdam: G+B Arts, 1997.
  • Koolhaas, Rem and Whiting, Sarah. “Spot Check: A Conversation between Rem Koolhaas and Sarah Whiting.” Assemblage, n. 40, Dec., 1999, pp. 36-55.
  • Kwinter, Sanford. “Urbanism after Innocence: Four Projects: The Reinvention of Geometry,” Assemblage, n. 18, August 1992, pp. 82-113.
  • Liu, Andrew, “The Idea of Knowledge Work,” The Laws of Cool. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  • Manovich, Lev. “Database as Symbolic Form,” Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
  • Mattern, Shannon Christine. Building Ideologies: a case study of the Seattle Public Library Building and its embodied ideas, ideals and values; Program in Media Ecology, Department of Culture and Communication. New York: New York University, 2002.
  • Nash, Richad Eoin. “Follies and Falsities: Architectural Photography.” A Journal of Performance and Art, v. 23 n. 2, May 2001, pp. 71-74.
  • Paul, Christianne. “The Database as System and Cultural Form: Anatomies of Cultural Narrative,” Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
  • Perez-Gomez, Alberto and Pelletier, Louise. Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000.
  • Pine, B. Joseph and Gilmore, James H. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 1999.
  • Rattenbury, Kester. This is not Architecture, Media Constructions. London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Saunders, William S. “Rem Koolhaas’s Writing on Cities: Poetic Perception and Gnomic Fantasy,” Journal of Architectural Education, v. 51 n. 1, September 1997, pp. 61-71.
  • Speaks, Michael “Design intelligence: or thinking after the end of metaphysics” in Architectural Design 72: Versioning: evolutionary techniques in architecture, v. 72, n. 5, September 2002, pp. 4-6
  • Vesna, Victoria. “Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand,” Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.


  • A+U 412: Structure and Materials; JA Publications, Tokyo, Japan: 2005
  • El Croquis 134/135: OMA 1996/2007; El Croquis Publications, Madrid, Spain: 2007


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