LeDeuzzy, Q.

Koolhaas versus the Actor

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Koolhaas versus the Actor

Rita Novel
2005.05.05 08:08

...just did a very quick scan of l'architecture dans le boudoir, and it seems a very good reference point, and a very good point of departure for further investigation regarding architecture and reenactment. (Thanks very much for making the contribution.) Now, taking l'architecture dans le boudoir and the non-Tafuri reading of the Campo Marzio plan may indeed deliver heretofore unexpected fruitful results in terms of understanding all the mid-late 20th architecture that Tafuri writes about.
Now I have to thoroughly re-read the essay, plus go through the A+U on De Feo in Quondam's collection, plus look closely at the Designs for the Bicentennial by Venturi and Rauch, plus republish those "Stirling's Legacy" essays [5605 5606] that used to be at Quondam, and who knows what else.

["Cher and Cher alike" was a circa 1976 sign that Dave Schmitt (a big fan of the NY Five back then) gave to the contribution cup of the communal coffee station in our second year architecture studio.]

2005.05.05 14:28

glad it was useful. do post a link to the density paper once you've uploaded it, i'm very interested in reading it.

Rita Novel
2005.05.05 15:37

I've just read half of "l'architecture dans le boudoir" and yes it is exactly what I should be reading again right now. I haven't come across any reference to Piranesi yet (and I didn't find any in my initial quick scan of the text either). Let's put aside the notion of my interpretation of the Campo Marzio plan disqualifying Tafuri's whole argument, and focus rather on the question whether a good understanding of "reenactionary architecturism" is indeed missing from Tafuri's argument, and then whether a good understanding of "reenactionary architecturism" brings Tafuri's argument into much better focus. So far, I can at least note that Tafuri was unaware of Rossi's Modena Cemetery design reenacting Piranesi's design of the Bustum Hadriani within the Campo Marzio--e2915

How would you translate the title "l'architecture dans le boudoir" into English?

Also, aml, can I at least ask why/how all this interests you and to what capacity?

2005.05.05 18:33

you're right. tafuri only mentions piranesi twice in the essay and only in passing, because l'architecture dans le boudoir is at the end of 'the sphere and the labyrinth' book, where he dedicates [to] piranesi the first chapter with a title you would probably disagree with ['the crazy architect'].

however, it's in the boudoir chapter where tafuri outlines his argument. that is why i referenced that one. i actually forgot by then he has put piranesi aside. that is why i argued his analysis of piranesi is not key to the argument.

boudoir : a woman's bedroom, dressing room, or private sitting room

tafuri explains the title halfway through the essay i think. i'm afraid i can't reference pages since my edition is in spanish and i'm guessing yours isn't. basically architecture in postmodernism [i know he won't say it] is in the boudoir, pouting in its own little room--referencing the marquis de sade--referencing itself, looking at itself, playing its own private games, etc. i'm not familiar with sade's writing so i'm not sure of the exact relation, but the overall relation is explained clearly.

hmmm this might take you away from piranesi and if i've mislead you i'm sorry. however, i think the concept of reenactment--if i'm understanding your definition correctly--is present throughout the essay. but to argue this seriously i would have to reread tafuri again and review your concept of reenactment much more carefully and i'm afraid right now i've other reading to do...

tafuri interests me because i used him to structure the development of postmodern architecture. i use that reading as a map to postmodernist production in my contemporary theory class. of course i also find holes in tafuri's argument, but that's another conversation.

Rita Novel
2005.05.05 20:19

I just realized that there are (at least) two English "l'architecture dans le boudoir" texts by Tafuri. The 'first' was published in Oppositions 3 (May 1974), the 'second' is chapter 8 of The Sphere and the Labyrinth (1980). The text I starting reading today is the one from Oppositions, and I've now compared the two texts and they are not at all identical. For example, Piranesi is not referenced at all in the first text. Overall, much has been added to the second text to 'fill it out' and update it, but there are also some changes (although some of the changes may be due to different translators).

Yes, the concept of reenactment is there within "l'architecture dans le boudoir," but nowhere does Tafuri explain or even recognize it as such. Tafuri mentions that a "code" has been lost, and thus the language architects use is devoid of meaning, implying that if the code were still known, then the meaning would be known as well. For me, reenactionary architecturism is the code and the provider of meaning.

In English, the first chapter of The Sphere and the Labyrinth is "The Wicked Architect," and this chapter too was published earlier and separately, (or maybe I'm thinking of the first chapter of Architecture and Utopia).

Anyway, it looks to me like The Sphere and the Labyrinth is itself a bricolage, composed of disparate pieces that were ultimately brought together, which perhaps explains the very first paragraph (which I responded to with "How Ironic!"

2005.05.06 12:27

you are very right. from my notes:

1969 the first version of the 'l'architecture dans le boudoir' is published in the italian magazine contrapiano

1973 aldo rossi is the curator of the 15th architecture biennale, where the united states is represented by the new york five.

1974 'l'architecture dans le boudoir' is presented in the united states in the conference 'practice, theory and politics in architecture' organized in princeton university by diana agrest.

other participants in this conference include:

'on practice': koolhaas, silvetti, gandelsonas, natalini
'on theory': eisenman, lionel march
'on politics': frampton, charney, raggi

that same year the essay is published in 'oppositions'

in 1980, 'la sfera e il labirinto: avanguardie e architettura da piranesi agli anni '70' is published in italy. yes , this chapter is expanded from the initial essay. i prefer to use this version since it is the revised one [and i don't have the other one].

the spanish version is published in 1984. i think the english version of the book comes later. in any case, the 'boudoir' essay becomes part of the last chapter of the book, although it was probably written before the book. as mentioned before, piranesi starts the first chapter and you can see tafuri considered him important enough that he included him in the 'subtitle' of the book.

i didn't know that first chapter had been published earlier. a quick comparison with architecture and utopia tells me the analysis of the piranesi drawings is longer in sphere and the labyrinth.

and a quick reading of this post tells you i'm a history freak, obviously enjoying the minutiae of details to a rather sickening degree. sorry about that.

2005.05.06 12:30

...and the title comes from sade's 'la philosophie dans le boudoir'

the cover of 'architecture and utopia' is an etching by aldo rossi, 'architecture assasinated' and dedicated to tafuri.

Rita Novel
2005.05.06 13:06

Manfredo Tafuri, "G.B. Piranesi: L'Archtettura come Utopia Negativa" in Angelus Novus, no. 20, January 1971, republished as "Giovanni Battista Piranesi: L'utopie negative dans l'architecture" in L'Architecture d'aujourd'hui no. 184, March/April 1976, republished as "The Wicked Architect": G.B. Piranesi, Heterotopia, and the Voyage in The Sphere and the Labyrinth, 1980.

I did not mean to imply that "The Wicked Architect" may have first appeared within Architecture and Utopia.

'l'architecture dans le boudoir' is the penultimate chapter in the 1987 English edition. The last chapter is entitled "The Ashes of Jefferson".




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