rooms + cities 2


Our aim is to study – by architectural means – the forms and conditions for the eruption of rooms within the fabric of the city. By fabric we mean texture, infrastructure, morphology, topography, and zoning, even. Rooms may take many forms and scales, they may be big or little, public or private, commercial or residential, habitable or uninhabitable, accessible or inaccessible,…. Let us wager that the subject of the city sees itself in the room. The subject uses the room to locate itself, whether the room is accessible or not. In their many and varied forms, rooms represent the subject of the city to itself and to others. In the language of Lacan, the subject is in an imaginary and/or symbolic relation to the room. Imagine for a moment that the city has two surfaces, both of which are problematic. There is an outer surface and an inner surface. The outer surface is the interface between the city and its region or hinterland, usually rural. The inner surface is the interface between the spatial subject and the city or city fabric. Both are problematic, not least because the outer edge no longer exists (it has been urbanised), and the inner edge never did (it is symbolic or imaginary, it is always already disappearing).

If the spatial subject did not exist, this architectural project, which creates a space for inhabitation by projection, would not be intelligible as a project, or, if intelligible, not poignant.

SOM, Lever House, NYC (completed 1952). Designated as a NYC Landmark, 1982. Built by British soap manufacturers Lever Brothers as their American headquarters. Lever Bros. founded in Warrington (1885), merged (1930) with the Dutch margarine company Margarine Unie to form Unilever. Merger based on the natural affinity of soap and margarine.


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