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Horror in Architecture

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This book looks at the idea of horror and its analogues in architecture. In these, normal compositions become strange: extra limbs appear, holes open where they should not, individual objects are doubled or split or perversely occupied. Horrifying buildings re-imagine the possibilities of architectural language, shifting from “natural” norms to other, more rarified and exci This book looks at the idea of horror and its analogues in architecture. In these, normal compositions become strange: extra limbs appear, holes open where they should not, individual objects are doubled or split or perversely occupied. Horrifying buildings re-imagine the possibilities of architectural language, shifting from “natural” norms to other, more rarified and exciting options. They define an expanded aesthetic field that marries the beautiful to the distorted, the awkward, the manifold, and the indeterminate. Through an investigation that spans architecture art, and literature, this study attempts to limn horror through its shifting forms and meanings—and to identify a creeping unease that lingers at the very center of the modern project. Horror in Architecture may be read as a history, as an alternative to the classic canon of good and proper architectures, or as a sly manifesto for a new approach to the design of the built environment—one that encourages a playful subversion of conventions. To capture horror in its many guises, this study is presented in a unique manner. An introductory essay describes the historical fortunes of horror as an aesthetic idea, from Roman antiquity to the pulp films and novels of the present day. Here, the authors put forward a new theory of the sources and effects of horror in modernity and in modern architecture. This is followed by case studies of types, linking classic tropes (clones, doubles, hybrids, psychotics and the undead) to specific buildings and architectural theories. As a result, this study may be read in a number of different ways. It may be consumed as a total theoretical piece, from start to finish. Or it may provide a series of more casual readings, in the various chapters and brief presentations of the works of individual architects or buildings.


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This book looks at the idea of horror and its analogues in architecture. In these, normal compositions become strange: extra limbs appear, holes open where they should not, individual objects are doubled or split or perversely occupied. Horrifying buildings re-imagine the possibilities of architectural language, shifting from “natural” norms to other, more rarified and exci This book looks at the idea of horror and its analogues in architecture. In these, normal compositions become strange: extra limbs appear, holes open where they should not, individual objects are doubled or split or perversely occupied. Horrifying buildings re-imagine the possibilities of architectural language, shifting from “natural” norms to other, more rarified and exciting options. They define an expanded aesthetic field that marries the beautiful to the distorted, the awkward, the manifold, and the indeterminate. Through an investigation that spans architecture art, and literature, this study attempts to limn horror through its shifting forms and meanings—and to identify a creeping unease that lingers at the very center of the modern project. Horror in Architecture may be read as a history, as an alternative to the classic canon of good and proper architectures, or as a sly manifesto for a new approach to the design of the built environment—one that encourages a playful subversion of conventions. To capture horror in its many guises, this study is presented in a unique manner. An introductory essay describes the historical fortunes of horror as an aesthetic idea, from Roman antiquity to the pulp films and novels of the present day. Here, the authors put forward a new theory of the sources and effects of horror in modernity and in modern architecture. This is followed by case studies of types, linking classic tropes (clones, doubles, hybrids, psychotics and the undead) to specific buildings and architectural theories. As a result, this study may be read in a number of different ways. It may be consumed as a total theoretical piece, from start to finish. Or it may provide a series of more casual readings, in the various chapters and brief presentations of the works of individual architects or buildings.

30 review for Horror in Architecture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    Best Thing about this book is the categories that the authors developed. Very interesting way of dissecting the "genre" and framing the discussion. However, i am a bit underwhelmed by the architectures they put forward. I was certainly not expecting to spending most of my time reading about the same old examples of Venturi, Koolhaas, Chicago Tribune competition etc...it feels like a re-wrapped architecture 101. I was hoping for a more varied and surprising iconography, not yet another re-reading Best Thing about this book is the categories that the authors developed. Very interesting way of dissecting the "genre" and framing the discussion. However, i am a bit underwhelmed by the architectures they put forward. I was certainly not expecting to spending most of my time reading about the same old examples of Venturi, Koolhaas, Chicago Tribune competition etc...it feels like a re-wrapped architecture 101. I was hoping for a more varied and surprising iconography, not yet another re-reading of the same 15 projects we've been talking about for the last 200 years. I appreciate the intellectual exercise, but the title is a bit...misleading or over-hyping the content.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    A good resource, but burdened by the amateurish taking up of theory and a lot of very sloppy mistakes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Chua

    Difficult read, but interesting metaphors in the comparison of elements of horror and how it translates and is reflected in architecture.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin Kim

    Overall a good read with examples of strange and fascinating architectural projects all over the world (from ancient to contemporary times) but it glosses over them - although the usual suspects like Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry all make multiple appearances. The thesis puts forward how “horror” exists in architecture and how economic / capitalist strains help create these “monsters” in architecture. Fascinating idea that holds weight but some of it was glossed over.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I don't know much about architecture like actually nothing, so maybe there were mistakes i didnt notice. But coming from it knowing nothing about architecture, I found some of the points they made about horrific building, and modern architecture really interesting. Although sometimes, they did make the same points multiple times in seperate sections. I don't know much about architecture like actually nothing, so maybe there were mistakes i didnt notice. But coming from it knowing nothing about architecture, I found some of the points they made about horrific building, and modern architecture really interesting. Although sometimes, they did make the same points multiple times in seperate sections.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ajk

    A phenomenal premise, and interesting in large chunks. But the totality wasn't really quite there, and the actual production of the book was a little shoddy at times with the photographs and words not quite matching up. This was enjoyable to be sure, but I was hoping for much more. A phenomenal premise, and interesting in large chunks. But the totality wasn't really quite there, and the actual production of the book was a little shoddy at times with the photographs and words not quite matching up. This was enjoyable to be sure, but I was hoping for much more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Tied together so many thoughts that I have been exploring recently (!) Definitely need to look over some chapters in more detail but absolutely perfect for where my practise is going currently ❣️

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pallavi

    Excellent practical introduction to the horrors that architecture gives rise to. The body and architecture is inextricably entwined and this book shows us how. Flush with examples of buildings and lots of pictures from literary correlatives -- books, film and other kinds of media.

  9. 5 out of 5

    April

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jemima Ashdown

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robin Ono

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  13. 4 out of 5

    Evangelina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaki

  15. 5 out of 5

    James

  16. 5 out of 5

    woonder

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sam Vanivray

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary K

  19. 4 out of 5

    M. E.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Brewer

  21. 5 out of 5

    Luke Bushnell-Wye

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine Prevas

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Roquet

  24. 5 out of 5

    Henry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  26. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Schwerin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beining Chen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mason Thorne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Lee

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