This book looks at specific instances in the Renaissance, Enlightenment and our own time when architectural ideas and ideas of biological life come into close proximity with each other. These convergences are fascinating and complex, offering new insights into architecture and its role. Establishing architecture as a product of the ascendancy of the position of human life, the author shows here that while architecture is dependent on life forces for its existence, at the same time it must be, at some level, indifferent to the life within it. Life, for its part, privileges itself above all else, and seeks to continuously expand its field of expression. This, then, is the asymmetrical condition, and to understand it is to gain important new theoretical perspectives into the nature of architecture.
Catherine Ingraham is Professor of Architecture at Pratt Institute. She is the author of Architecture and the Burdens of Linearity (Yale University Press, 1998), co-editor of Restructuring Architectural Theory (Northwestern University Press, 1989), and was an editor of the critical journal Assemblage from 1991-1998.
Introduction Part I: Life (Before) 1: Partitioning the Orthopedic Whole 2: Inside and Outside 3: Life (Before) Part II: Life (After): Post-Animal Life 4: Post-Animal Life 5: After 6: Ways of Life 7: Hyena: Totem Animal of the Late Twentieth Century Part III: The Divide 8: Birds (From Above) 9: Birds (From Below) 10: Space: The Animal-Field 11: Praying Mantis: Totem Animal of the Thirties 12: Mimicry Part IV: Milieu 13: Vertical, Standing Upright 14: Framing 15: Lascaux: Totem Milieu of the Sixties Part V: Animal Urbanism 16: Stock Exchange: Standing Upright, Idle 17: The City: Horizontal, Upright, Working Part VI: Processing 18: Engineering 19: Processing