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Material Imagination in Architecture draws on history and the visual arts, and contemporary architecture to explore this popular theme in architectural practice and education. In the context of a discipline increasingly driven by digital production, this text explores architecture and making and the diverse influences on the material reality of architectural form: it argues that the crafts, fabrication and assemblage of its making remain vital elements of contemporary architectural language. This broad-ranging text bridges the gap between a technical or otherwise fragmentary knowledge of materials of the specialist, and the tacit or instinctive understanding of materials that the artist, sculptor or architect may have. It identifies key material themes pertinent to contemporary architectural debate and develops a discourse about future practice that is framed by environmental imperatives and grounded in a historical understanding of the meaning and use of materials. Material iconology in architecture is a well-established tradition and this book draws on that background to investigate the possibilities, and limits, of using materials in contemporary design to communicate the themes and contexts of an architectural project, a material’s relationship to context, and to the history of practices that belong to the traditions of making buildings. Each theme is explored in case studies from twelve countries around the world, including the UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia and China.
In recent years architectural discourse has witnessed a renewed interest in materiality under the guise of such familiar tropes as 'material honesty,' 'form finding,' or 'digital materiality.' Motivated in part by the development of new materials and an increasing integration of designers in fabricating architecture, a proliferation of recent publications from both practice and academia explore the pragmatics of materiality and its role as a protagonist of architectural form. Yet, as the ethos of material pragmatism gains more popularity, theorizations about the poetic imagination of architecture continue to recede. Compared to an emphasis on the design of visual form in architectural practice, the material imagination is employed when the architect 'thinks matter, dreams in it, lives in it, or, in other words, materializes the imaginary.' As an alternative to a formal approach in architectural design, this book challenges readers to rethink the reverie of materials in architecture through an examination of historical precedent, architectural practice, literary sources, philosophical analyses and everyday experience. Focusing on matter as the premise of an architect’s imagination, each chapter identifies and graphically illustrates how material imagination defines the conceptual premises for making architecture.
Covering 250 years of design tools and technologies, this book reveals how architects have produced the drawings, models, renderings and animations which show us the promise of what might be built.
"Originally published as Volume 39, Issue 4 of Art History."
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.
Films use architecture as visual shorthand to tell viewers everything they need to know about the characters in a short amount of time. Illustrated by a diverse range of films from different eras and cultures, this book investigates the reciprocity between film and architecture. Using a phenomenological approach, it describes how we, the viewers, can learn how to read architecture and design in film in order to see the many inherent messages. Architecture’s representational capacity contributes to the plausibility or 'reality' possible in film. The book provides an ontological understanding that clarifies and stabilizes the reciprocity of the actual world and a filmic world of illusion and human imagination, thereby shedding light on both film and architecture.
This book deals with the critical nature and crucial role of architectural drawings. Organized around eleven exercises, the book does not emphasize speed, nor incorporate many timesaving tricks typical of drawing books, but rather proposes a slow, meditative process for construing drawings and for drawing constructing thoughts.

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