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30 posts
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Architecture’s Excess Possibilities 

Here's a nice article on Architectural deterrents to its own use. We should perhaps dig past the obvious and proper outrage around these practices to note how architecture generates its own crevices, the attempt to modulate them a sign both of our capacity to exceed plans and the excess that every plan is to itself. …

Posted 38 months ago by

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On Being Busted… 

Wherin I recount my run in with "the Man" in Paris... Minding the Gap: through a hole in the Parisian Sidewalk

Posted 61 months ago by

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The Protective Veil of Innocence/Ignorance 

'Did I tell you about Kapterev's experiments on suggestion? Sometimes it turns out that to hinder the hypnosis all you need is a thin veil. Herein lies the profound meaning of the Jaw - a woman wearing a Jata cannot tempt.' —Pavel Florensky, "...in a discussion with his friend EI'chaninov on Kapterev's hypnotic experiments" We, …

Posted 64 months ago by

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Thinking the Box 

Like nesting boxes, we find strangeness inside of strangeness in the Met's exhibition Thinking Outside the Box. I have a thing for boxes, being one of the enduring forms of educational imagery, and as such, never quite what they seem. (Indeed, the secret compartment, or the intricate display or grand room on the inside, hidden …

Posted 70 months ago by

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Thinking through Drawing 

Just a heads up on what should prove to be an illuminating symposium. I'll be presenting on my recent collaborations, exploring the kinesthetics of drawing: Here's the symposium website: Thinking through Drawing. Come on out.

Posted 70 months ago by

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Hyperbolic Drawing 

I was just talking about line quality with a colleague, in preparation for an upcoming workshop. And I was reminded for a second time recently of a project that has literally been sitting on the shelf. Crochet is an interesting way of working with line, as well as being an elegant way of expressing hyperbolic …

Posted 71 months ago by

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Minimal Action 

In the spirit of this blog—of attending to things in their birthing pains rather than as polished certainties—here's a video study, in preparation for a series of projects in the works on using minimalist performance as a way of researching our embodied engagements with the cities we inhabit. The working question was how we can …

Posted 71 months ago by

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Getting Schooled for Misunderstanding Architecture 

I'm no classicist. Not my angle. But Seven Misunderstandings About Classical Architecture, by Quinlan Terry, is a masterclass. And what I love about it is that it catches us dismissers of Classical Architecture in our own net. Isn't the problem with Classical Architecture that it doesn't pay attention? Substituting past conventions and formal, abstract rules …

Posted 74 months ago by

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The University’s Desire and the Half-Bridge 

Deleuze & Guattari, in their extraordinary (and admirably concise) book on Kafka, suggest, amongst a series, the following rule of thumb: "a text that can be the seed of a novel will be abandoned if Kafka imagines an animal escape that allows him to finish with it." (38) In other words, if it can be …

Posted 77 months ago by

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Urban Underworlds 

From a book I'm reviewing: The definitional "nowhere" of Utopia was inverted in Harlem into a dystopian reality of lost souls. Harlem was "a ruin," Ellison went on to admit, and it was the city's "bowels." —Thomas Heise, Urban Underworlds Is this not the shared common ground of progressives and conservatives? But it is also …

Posted 77 months ago by

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The Aesthetics of Education 

I've been working a lot lately on the imagery of educational philosophy. Which is to say: what if we took the aesthetics of education not to be a particular sub-discipline, but instead thought of educational thought as essentially an aesthetic problem? What is the "art," in its expansive sense, of education? Having taught a few …

Posted 79 months ago by

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Academics in tight spaces 

That was refreshing! As you know, we academics are inordinately fond of wedging ourselves into confined spaces. At Yale, the students will see how many of their number they can enclose in a phone booth. At Harvard, a broom closet. I hope I did not spill my tea... —Professor G. H. Dorr, in The Ladykillers

Posted 80 months ago by

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The Architecture of Segregation 

Posted 81 months ago by

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Education: Outside In 

Could we imagine that the intersection of the Prairie School of architecture and progressive education marks a particular strategy of reworking the the urban topology? In it's rejection of neo-classical ornament and scale--school as urban citadel--we might see not simply a ruthless break with history, but an attempt to draw to the surface a perennial …

Posted 82 months ago by

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An Ape Dressed as a Woman, and other challenges to the Philosophers 

Finally getting around to unpacking my books—and having recently been asked what kind of space I am talking about when I elaborate on the spatial narrative of education—I find the Encyclopedia Acephalica, from the Surrealists, opened in front of me. I was trying to clarify that it was neither abstract nor "real" space that is …

Posted 82 months ago by

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Progressive Architecture 

Last week I found myself trying to lay out for my colleagues—in preparation for an upcoming Colloquium by Kevin D. Murphy, on school architecture—the essential relationship between philosophies of education and architecture. Tricky, since this relationship tends to go deep underground. Into caves, for example. And the challenge is to realize that it is not …

Posted 82 months ago by

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The Tower of Wisdom 

The Tower of Wisdom is found frequently in diagram collections of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It was part of a tradition of architectural mnemonic aids going back to the "memory palaces" promoted by the Roman author Cicero. It also served as an object of meditation; by internalizing its principles, a patient student (often a …

Posted 82 months ago by

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Stripped Down Cosmology 

I can't help but be drawn to illustrations of cosmology. They are frequently telling, and often like watching a train wreck. If, that is, a train wreck were to be suspended and labeled in a timeless clockwork quiet, evoking a fearful symmetry, closure and smugness. Which is why this illustration by Orance Finé, in his …

Posted 82 months ago by

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Variations on Euclid 

The roof is the shortest distance between two walls. —le Parkour maxim Education is unthinkable without it's geometry. The very gates to Plato's Academy make the prohibition clear, "Let none ignorant of geometry enter here." We could take it not merely as a shibboleth, the secret pronunciation that allows or disallows entrance to the clubhouse, …

Posted 82 months ago by

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What do sea slugs and crochet have to do with anything? 

Gridded three dimensional space, it turns out, is a less than direct and efficient way of accounting for the shifting relationships of complex, dynamic movement.

Posted 82 months ago by

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