Actions of Architecture
Architects and Creative Users
Routledge – 2003 – 232 pages
Drawing on the work of a wide range of architects, artists and writers, this book considers the relations between the architect and the user, which it compares to the relations between the artist and viewer and the author and reader. The book's thesis is informed by the text 'The Death of the Author', in which Roland Barthes argues for a writer aware of the creativity of the reader.
Actions of Architecture begins with a critique of strategies that define the user as passive and predictable, such as contemplation and functionalism. Subsequently it considers how an awareness of user creativity informs architecture, architects and concepts of authorship in architectural design. Identifying strategies that recognize user creativity, such as appropriation, collaboration, disjunction, DIY, montage, polyvalence and uselessness, Actions of Architecture states that the creative user should be the central concern of architectural design.
'A book as important for its theoretical grounding as for its relevance to the future of the profession.' - Bobby Open, The Architectural Review
'A stimulating and exciting book that is imaginative and thought provoking … the importance of the book is that it is one of the few to challeneg orthodox ideas and practices in the architectural profession, and for this it deserves to be widely read.' - Environment and Planning B
Introduction 1. The Role of the User 1.1 The Passive User 1.2 From the Reactive User to the Creative User 1.3 The Creative User 1.4 Conclusion 2. Montage After Shock 2.1 The Montage of Fragments 2.2 The Montage of Gaps 2.3 The Institute of Illegal Architects 2.4 Weather Architecture (Berlin 1929-1930, Barcelona 1986-, Barcelona 1999) 2.5 White on White 2.6 Electromagnetic Weather 2.7 The Subject is Matter 2.8 Turning a Wall into a Window 2.9 Conclusion
Jonathan Hill is Director of the MPhil/PhD by Architectural Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Galleries where he has had solo exhibitions include the Haus der Architektur, Graz, and Architektur-Galerie am Weissenhof, Stuttgart. Jonathan is author of The Illegal Architect and editor of Occupying Architecture: Between the Architect and the User and Architecture