Archis 2005 #1

A new volume for architecture. (Editorial)

— by

All writing structures space. (This is certainly a metaphorical relation, but only insofar as any description of a non-material process is metaphorical. Thoughts fly and love is shy and hate burns and writing shapes space.) There is no distortion that intercedes, for me, between my activity as a writer and the shaping of space that follows immediately from it.

 

 

Given this fact, I use many of the same tools an architect uses. I draw spatial plans for my novels. These drawings are indispensable parts of the compositional process. I also test the tolerances and capacities of my materials (words) and then adjust my spatial plans to suit these pragmatic limits. I build for use, constructing my texts in anticipation of readers whose inhabitation of my written space will permanently alter its meanings and function. I often work on commission from a client, as now. Clients, calling themselves ‘editors,’ pressure me to address their needs, and I do. The social skills of an architect – is this a kind of ‘architectural intelligence?’ – are employed whenever I write.

 

 

You also ask how ‘journalism, criticism and other forms of reflection can anticipate, contribute and facilitate ”the going beyond” of architecture.’ This is a much larger, more muddled question. Are journalism and criticism ‘forms of reflection?’ And what other forms does reflection take? What does it mean to ‘anticipate, contribute and facilitate?’ I can only set these questions aside and try to answer the general sense of your query, as follows: By writing, we can test architectural possibilities that might be too expensive or dangerous or reviled to test materially.

 

 

Writing will be the primary ground on which ‘the going beyond’ of architecture transpires because it is architecture, unfettered by the limitations and costs of the material world.

 

 

Matthew Stadler