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Chora 2

Chora 2: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture

Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Stephen Parcell
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Chora 2
    Book Description:

    Karsten Harries provides a new and long-overdue reading of Martin Heidegger's well-known essay "Building Dwelling Thinking." Donald Kunze and Stephen Parcell consider possibilities of meaningful architectural space for a visual culture, continuing themes they addressed in Chora 1. Further reflections on the spaces of literature, cinema, and architecture include an interview with French writer and film maker Alain Robbe-Grillet and articles by Dagmar Motycka Weston on the surrealist city, Tracey Eve Winton on the museum as a paradigmatic modern building, and Terrance Galvin on spiritual space in the works of Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Chupin and Bram Ratner explore historical themes in their essays on French Renaissance architect Philibert de l'Orme and the Jewish myth of the Golem. Gregory Caicco addresses ethical questions in his essay on the Greek agora and the death of Socrates, as does Lily Chi in her meditation on the critical issue of use in architectural works. A concern with architectural representation and generative strategies for the making of architecture is present throughout, especially in the essay by Joanna Merwood on the provocative House by British artist Rachel Whiteread.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6601-9
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 Socrates in the Agora
    (pp. 1-16)
    Gregory Paul Caicco

    SACRIFICE IS THE OLDEST FORM of religious action.¹ If a person wished to draw near to the gods, as the priest Chryses did with Apollo or as Hektor and Odysseus did with Zeus, he could do so only after he had “burnt many thigh-pieces of bulls” (Il. T.40, 22.170;Od. I.66). Ancient piety rested on a foundation of killing, death, and eating. The victim’s end coincided with a ritual scream at a point, between the knife and the altar, where the community and the Awesome were gathered.² By going through this “irreversible act,” life was affirmed through direct confrontation with...

  5. 2 On the Use of Architecture: The Destination of Buildings Revisited
    (pp. 17-36)
    Lily H. Chi

    THE DEMISE OF FUNCTIONALISM as a normative doctrine in architecture has long been a matter of common opinion, and yet is still difficult to speak of the “use” of architecture without being seized by one or the other side of an old polemic: the argument between utility and poetry, necessity and art. It would seem timely, in our exciting/bewildering context of endless possibilities and positions, to give some thought to this area of the mundane.

    The belief that the use of a building and its expression in built form should be a central concern of architects emerged relatively recently in...

  6. 3 Hermes’ Laugh: Philibert de l’Orme’s Imagery as a Case of Analogical Edification
    (pp. 37-68)
    Jean-Pierre Chupin

    IT IS A HISTORICAL FACT, however strange, that architects often associate architectural creation with “divine” venture. From Plato to Vitruvius, and from Philibert de l’Orme to Le Corbusier, there is a recurrent and symbolic set of images that connects the architect’s role and the intervention of a demiurge. Although for most historians these images are understood as common metaphors, they are rarely recognized as partaking in an overall analogical framework of thoughts. Beyond religious beliefs or dogmatic standpoints, it is this peculiar way of thinking about architecture called “analogical” that I will be exploring in this paper. Numerous analogies can...

  7. 4 The Angel and the Mirror: Reflections on the Architecture of the Amalgam
    (pp. 69-90)
    Terrance Galvin

    ARCHITECTURE HAS HISTORICALLY been a means of giving form to the invisible through the use of the faculty of theimagination. This essay will examine the symbolism of the angel as a manifestation of the invisible realm, specifically operating at the juncture of two realms, as evidenced by the marriage of the celestial firmament and the mirrored sea. In discussing the ontological meaning behind the symbolism of the angel, I will construct an argument supporting the angelic image as one that embodies a profound understanding of transformation and mediates the classical Cartesian separation of mind and body. The consequences of...

  8. 5 Lessons of a Dream
    (pp. 91-108)
    Karsten Harries

    AS JOSEPH RYKWERT has so convincingly shown, architectural theory cannot dispense with dreams or stories about an ideal architecture. Thoughts of the Heavenly Jerusalem once gave expression to such an ideal. So did Laugier’s reconstruction of the primitive hut. So do speculationsOn Adam’s House in Paradise.¹ The following remarks examine another such dream: Heidegger’s description of a Black Forest farm house. The frequency with which Heidegger and more especially this questionable image of genuine building and dwelling have been invoked by recent architectural theorizing, calls for such an examination.

    The nature of building is letting dwell. Building accomplishes its...

  9. 6 Architecture as Site of Reception. Part II: Sea-Food and Vampires
    (pp. 109-134)
    Donald Kunze

    THE NOW SOMEWHAT INFAMOUS futurist impresario Filippo Tommaso Marinetti recognized that a public numbed by the over-intellectualized debates of artists, historians, and critics could be refreshed by shifting the venue to issues of cuisine. The “point” ofThe Futurist Cookbook(1932) may have been a serious joke about the culinary conservatism of the twentieth century, but it displayed a showman’s wit in its willingness to translate aesthetic issues into a readily recognizable language - or, rather, to split the language of art into two parts, one that seemed to speak of recipes for nourishment, another that considered “food as a...

  10. 7 Concrete Blonde: A Probe into Negative Space where Mysteries are Created
    (pp. 135-148)
    Joanna Merwood

    THE PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS A SERIES of similarly sized monolithic concrete cubes stacked on top of one another. The grey surfaces are rough, stained, and marked with many small geometric indentations and protuberances. Inscribed in each cube and standing out in relief are modular rectangles, some divided into four parts. Between each pair of the cubes is a thinnish layer of crusty brick and timber.

    Houseis the concrete cast of the inside of a nineteenth-century house in Hackney, East London, the last of a row of terrace houses demolished to make way for a park. The work, a sculpture by...

  11. 8 Surrealist Paris: The Non-Perspectival Space of the Lived City
    (pp. 149-178)
    Dagmar Motycka Weston

    SURREALISM IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE to twentieth-century culture because of its fruitful efforts both to restore poetic wholeness to a daily reality which had been fragmented and impoverished by nineteenth century positivistic and instrumental attitudes and to reinstate the imagination as the distinctive attribute of human existence.³ The surrealists’ quest to reconcile the seemingly contradictory states of “reality” and “dream” in a poetic state ofsurreality⁴is powerfully embodied by their urban texts, epitomized by André Breton’sNadjaandL’amour fou, and Louis Aragon’sLe paysan de Paris.⁵These writings are of great interest to anyone thinking about the nature...

  12. 9 The Metaphoric Architecture of the Diorama
    (pp. 179-216)
    Stephen Parcell

    WITH ITS STUFFED ANIMALS and artificial terrain, the diorama is an earnest representation of nature. During the past century it has become a familiar part of dozens of natural history museums across North America and northern Europe, where it continues to be an enticing spectacle, a benign curiosity.

    This spectacle, however, is sustained by practices that verge on the grotesque and the incongruous. A diorama manipulates corpses and surrounds them with model materials and paint. Its execution employs forgery techniques, camouflage, and illusion. By combining relics and fabrications, it hovers somewhere between fact and fiction. Once these production practices are...

  13. 10 The Legend of the Golem
    (pp. 217-244)
    Bram Ratner

    IN THE HEBREW YEAR 5340 (1580 C.E.) the great Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, or as he is more commonly known, the Maharal¹ of Prague, undertook the making of a Golem to combat the continued attempt of the fanatical priest Thaddeus to cause mischief toward the Jewish community of Prague. On the second day of the month of Adar, after midnight, Rabbi Loew took his son-in-law, Isaac ben Simson, and his pupil, Jacob ben Chayim Sasson, to the outskirts of town and the banks of the river. There, by torchlight and amid the chanting of Psalms, they worked to form...

  14. 11 Paradoxical Spaces in Literature, Film and Architecture: A Dialogue with Alain Robbe-Grillet
    (pp. 245-268)
    Alain Robbe-Grillet and Alberto Peréz-Gómez

    THIS TEXT ORIGINATED from a conversation between the novelist and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet and Alberto Pérez-Gómez. The public interview was organized by l’Institut de recherche en histoire de l’architecture, and held in Montreal at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on October 16, 1992. The transcript was edited in French by Louise Pelletier, translated by Franca Trubiano, and edited in English by Stephen Parcell and Alberto Pérez-Gómez.

    Alberto Pérez-Gómez: During the past several decades, architects such as John Hejduk, Peter Eisenman, and Daniel Libeskind, have found inspiration in thenew novelfor both their theoretical and building projects. In my opinion...

  15. 12 When the Old Mirror is not yet Polished, What Would You Say of it?
    (pp. 269-320)
    Tracey Eve Winton

    1667: Perrault colonizes the Louvre.

    1704: Kepler invents infinity.

    1772.: Diderot and d’Alembert complete theEncyclopaedia.

    1787: Volume 1 ofGlossarium comparativum totius orbisis published.

    1789: 2 July The Bastille logbook notes that “the Count de Sade shouted several times from the window of the Bastille that the prisoners were being renumbered and that the people should come to liberate them.”¹

    1789: 14 July The Bastille is stormed and Sade’s cell sacked, his furniture, his suits and linens, his library and most important, his manuscripts, are “burned, pillaged, torn up and carried off.”²

    1792: Decision to create the Museum...

  16. About the Authors
    (pp. 321-325)