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Architecture's Desire: Reading the Late Avant-Garde (Writing Architecture) Paperback – October 2, 2009
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At the very moment when the death of theory by the victorious sword of the real has been loudly proclaimed, Michael Hays' lyrical return to the 1970s when architecture first fully realized its potential to become a conceptual practice is both welcome and much needed. His close attention to key works by Hejduk, Eisenman, and Rossi uncovers striking connections between this commonly repressed substratum and the instrumental turn recently taken by architects such as Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas and persuasively turns the 'reality' of contemporary architecture upside down to reveal our new 'real' to be driven by forces more mysterious and intangible than ever.(Sylvia Lavin, Director of Critical Studies and MA/PhD Programs, UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design)
About the Author
Gerald Holton is Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
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The discussion is launched by way of the "received" views of the late critic and Renaissance scholar Manfredo Tafuri and the somewhat more recently deceased Mannerist historian and critic Colin Rowe, whose rather different yet coincident views are labeled "not so much incorrect, as... not correct enough" with regard to the impasse of post-modernist architectural ambitions. Instead, Hays would like to bracket Tafurian black pessimism and Rovian inquisitive skepticism with the question: "Where does architecture come from, and what authorizes its existence as architecture--- beyond the [largely Humanist-based] constitutions already in place?", a demand he specifies to have been the "query of the late avant-garde."
The author's "not correct enough" maxim hinges on full philosophical immersion in the "matrix of [Lacanian] desire", and the reader unfamiliar with Lacan's elaborate and not infrequently shifting terminology will make scant headway, especially in the opening chapter labeled "Desire", at the end of which Hays makes the suggestion that, after all, this first chapter should perhaps have been read last.Read more ›