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Chora 1

Chora 1: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture

Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Stephen Parcell
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by:
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Chora 1
    Book Description:

    Volume I in the new series Chora: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture explores fundamental questions concerning the practice of architecture and examines the potential of architecture. The essays in this collection explore architectural form and content in the hope of finding new and better alternatives to traditionally accepted practices.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6476-3
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Chora: The Space of Architectural Representation
    (pp. 1-34)
    Alberto Pérez-Gémez

    What does architecture represent within the context of everyday life? Given its techno-political context, is it even conceivable that this well-proven instrument of power may represent something other than male, egocentric will or repressive political or economic forces? Could it be that despite its common origin with instrumental and technological forms of representation, it may nonetheless allow for participatory human action and an affirmation of life-towards-death through symbolization as “presencing” through the constructed work, rather than manifest the very denial of man’s capacity to recognize existential meaning in privileged artifacts such as works of art? Could it then embody values...

  4. The Measure of Expression: Physiognomy and Character in Lequeu’s “Nouvelle Méthode”
    (pp. 35-56)
    Jean-François Bédard

    It was not until the publication in 1933 of Emil Kaufmann’sVon Ledoux bis Le Corbusierthat Jean-Jacques Lequeu was officially ushered into the world of architectural historiography.² Both in this book and in a later article,³ Kaufmann asserted that Lequeu and his colleagues Etienne-Louis Boullee and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux were important forerunners of early twentieth-century modernism. Other historians have analyzed Lequeu’s work since then, variously describing him as a romantic, a surrealist, a dadaist, a schizophrenic, and a pornographer; Philippe Duboy even called him the “pataphysical” alter ego of Marcel Duchamp.⁴ Beyond these differences of interpretation, all agree that Lequeu’s...

  5. Michelangelo: The Image of the Human Body, Artifice, and Architecture
    (pp. 57-82)
    Helmut Klassen

    When the image of the human body first appeared in Greek art, it was as an anthropomorphic projection by which unknown and ambiguous powers in the world were identified and could be recognized. Form and gestures, joined with a name, delineated a physiognomy that made apparent a characteristic mode of action and behaviour in the world.² More than a representation or picture of man, the image of the body was thus a mask or figure with which something invisible and ultimately unknown was grasped and made familiar. It was a construction that represented the achievement of a certain understanding of...

  6. Architecture as a Site of Reception – Part I: Cuisine, Frontality, and the Infra-Thin
    (pp. 83-108)
    Donald Kunze

    InThe Gastronomical Me,M.F.K. Fisher noted that our three basic needs for food, security, and love are so intermingled that we cannot think of one without encompassing the others.³ There are two important truths here. The first is that the human mind works so much through a logic of displacement, whereby concerns of one kind are written in the language of another, that in fact mind itself might be regarded as nothing more than the process of displacement.⁴ The second truth is that hunger, its object (food), and its functions (ingestion and digestion) figure prominently in that process.


  7. Fictional Cities
    (pp. 109-122)
    Graham Livesey

    The practice of architecture in the postindustrial city is both a difficult and an essential task, given the conversion of the public realm into an alien and endless world of ambient images.¹ Through a brief examination of literary works by Bruno Schulz and André Breton, and the architecture of Aldo Rossi, this essay discusses the role that fiction and, hence, narrative can play in the redefinition of the contemporary city. To frame this inquiry, I will propose that there exists a hidden fictional and dialectical counterpart to the real city. This suggests the often overlooked role that narrative plays in...

  8. Instrumentality and the Organic Assistance of Looms
    (pp. 123-142)
    Indra Kagis McEwen

    The critique of modernism that so preoccupies contemporary architectural discourse has entailed a fundamental re-interpretation of the history of Western architecture. The critique and the re-interpretation together have led to the discovery that architecture, initially and throughout most of its history, was understood as anything but a functional or formalist undertaking. It was found that until very recently,allarchitecture - not only (albeit especially) that of church or temple buildings - was essentially religious, inasmuch as it confounded the immanent and the transcendent in built, corporeal reality. Architecture was like the human body itself, which - as Vitruvius demonstrated...

  9. Space and Image in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalgia: Notes on a Phenomenology of Architecture in Cinema
    (pp. 143-166)
    Juhani Pallasmaa

    “Poets and painters are born phenomenologists,” wrote J.H. van den Berg.¹ A phenomenological approach to the artist implies a pure looking at the essence of things, unburdened by convention or intellectualized explanation. When a writer, a painter, or a film director presents a scene, he or she must define a setting for the act. But creating a place is the primal act of architecture, and consequently these artists unknowingly perform the task of an architect. Unaware of the professional rules of the discipline, they approach the mental dimensions of architectural experience and, hence, reveal the phenomenological basis of the art...

  10. The Momentary Modern Magic of the Panorama
    (pp. 167-188)
    Stephen Parcell

    Representation presumes an analogy between two things - betweenthisandthat. Sometimes,this is nearandthat isfar. Sometimes,thisis drawn andthatis built. InNotre Dame de Paris,Victor Hugo warned, retrospectively,thiswill killthat.

    Since the Renaissance, perspective has been dedicated to makingthisappear to bethat.A perspective offers a virtual space that one can imagine inhabiting, while the edges of the perspectival image mark a boundary that continues to distinguishthisfromthat.However, the nineteenth-century panorama (known as “cyclorama” in the United States) sought to disguise that boundary and...

  11. The Building of a Horizon
    (pp. 189-216)
    Louise Pelletier

    A total eclipse of the sun had been predicted in Mexico City, and I awaited the event with childish excitement. The previous day, I had climbed the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan to watch a descendant of the Aztecs re-enact an ancient ritual, and that seemed a fitting prelude to what must have seemed, five centuries earlier, a portentous event. A few minutes before daylight began to fade, I climbed to the roof to watch the transformation of the city. The sky was obscured by clouds and by a thick smog that bleached out everything. Imperceptibly, the light grew...

  12. Anaesthetic Induction: An Excursion into the World of Visual Indifference
    (pp. 217-272)
    Natalija Subotincic

    This project is primarily an interpretation of Marcel Duchamp’s works. More specifically, my investigations engage his writings on perspective and the fourth dimension through an examination of his two major projects. The first isThe Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even..., also known asThe Large Glass.This piece, begun in 1915, was intentionally left incomplete in 1923. To accompany it, Duchamp wrote a text calledThe Green Box,dated 1934.¹ The second project isEtant Donnes: i° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gas d’eclairage... (translated asGiven: i° The waterfall, 2° The illuminating gas...). Duchamp worked...

  13. About the Authors
    (pp. 273-277)