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The architecture of the disaster

The architecture of the disaster

Stoppani, Teresa (2012) The architecture of the disaster. Space and Culture, 15 (2). pp. 135-150. ISSN 1206-3312 (Print), 1552-8308 (Online) (doi:

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This essay considers the irruption of the designed destructive event in the order of the project of architecture. The artificial disaster brings onto architecture destructive sudden forces that operate against it with an intensity and a speed that are different from those that are at play in it. It imposes on architecture the man-devised, forceful and violent interference of a project that is alien to that of architecture. The violent orchestrated event in space is interpreted here as a paroxysmal - explicit, sudden, violent - actualization of the forces that contribute to the shaping of the environment. Design and planning are about space definition and form making, while the destruction inflicted by the disaster concerns the undoing of form, of planned orders, of structures (be they societal, urban, economic, national).
Through a series of examples, this text explores those practices which - in architecture and around architecture - work on and with the energy released by the disastrous event. It aims to understand the effects of the planned disaster on the wider questions that the discipline of architecture needs to ask, and suggests that silence – or, the project of silence of architecture - is an act of design too.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] First published online: 23 April 2012. [2] Published in print: May 2012. [3] Version of record: 21 May 2012. [4] Published in Special issue of Space and Culture, Volume 15, Issue 2, 2012 ‘Spaces of Terror and Risk’, edited by David Wills, Cerwyn Moore, Joel McKim. [5] Space and Culture is an International Journal of Social Spaces.
Uncontrolled Keywords: disaster, war, terrorism and architecture, mapping, Sarajevo, New York 9/11
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Architecture, Design & Construction
School of Architecture, Design & Construction > Department of Architecture & Urbanism
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:17

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