Kafka's Architectures: Doors, Rooms, Stairs and Windows of an Intricate Literary Edifice
By: Ayad B. Rahmani (author)Paperback
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Kafka's Architectures is just as much about Kafka as it is about Architecture, on the one hand, adopting Kafka as a lens to examine modern conceptions in architecture, while on the other, using architecture to pry open new interpretations in Kafka scholarship. The book is composed of eight chapters, each taking up an architectural condition to explore meanings central to both literature and architecture, during and after Kafka's time. We learn, for instance, that while the stairs continues to function as vertical circulation, in Kafka's hands it becomes an instrument of science, testing the merit of natural selection. Doors similarly open and close less to allow access but to find the right alchemy of air between one psychological interior and the next. Notions of plumbing and hygiene, while already part and parcel of modern living, now begin to acquire a new meaning that wasn't there before. An architect like Mies van der Rohe suddenly begins to make more sense, especially his tabula rasa approach to design, signifying less a harsh disdain for site and more a response to a reality in which the ceremony of the stairs had died and was replaced by the pervasive flatness of the modern floor.
Ayad B. Rahmani is a professor of architecture at Washington State University. He has written widely on the subjects of art, architecture and urban design. He lives in Pullman, Washington, USA.
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