Founder, Nadim karam & Atelier Hapsitus
I remember buying this book from a bookshop in Aoyama, Tokyo that always stayed open until 3am – often the best time for browsing through books. Nitschke’s perceptive anthropological approach to Japanese concepts of space and time through their rituals, language, and culture is a fascinating read that gives depth to Japanese spatial concepts that have now become familiar in the West.
Rudofsky spent a lifetime challenging the traditional boundaries of architecture, touching on anthropology, fashion, and design with his curiosity and desire to heighten the sensuality of the daily business of living, eating, and dressing through design. Architecture without Architects is the product of his many travels, a humbling lesson to us architects about the beautiful simplicity of indigenous architecture.
This book was offered to me by one of my students, who felt that there are similarities between my work and Hejduk's. The book is full of drawings, plots, scenarios, objects, and subjects, all of which are intermingled with extravagant ideas and architectural shapes /installations full of imagination, elevating the observer to a parallel world full of dreams and stories.
This is a book to savor slowly. The contrast between the rigorous mathematical organization of the 55 cities that the book features in its eleven chapters and the poetry of the description of each of the cities in a manner that is not bound by any urban or physical limitations is wonderful. There is also the poignancy of the encounters between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Not sharing a common language, they are free to wander together through the imaginative potentialities of cities, using only visuals.
This book, of course, was the product of September 11, 2011 and its aftermath in European cities that spurred a whole new enquiry into terrorism, war, and cities. I was writing “Can Cities Dream?” at the eve of our own summer war in 2006, when we had to leave Lebanon suddenly. I remember coming across this book, and how it struck a chord with me. Virilio writes in the grey areas between physics, philosophy, politics, and urbanism - sometimes straying into anecdotes, but then comes back with a perceptive punch.
May 4, 2014