Kissing Architecture (POINT: Essays on Architecture)
“For the architect long out of school, yet still passionate about the profession, this series of extended essays should be a welcome addition to their reading lists.”
In her long form essay, Kissing Architecture, Sylvia Lavin uses the analogy of the kiss to observe and analyze the current interactions between architecture, art and, in particular, time-based multimedia installations.
Ms. Lavin deﬁnes a kiss as “the coming together of two similar but not identical surfaces that soften, ﬂex, and deform when in contact, a performance of temporary singularities, a union of bedazzling convergence and identiﬁcation during which separation is inconceivable yet inevitable.”
The kiss, an intimate gesture, suggests that the author is having us take a closer look at contemporary architectural concepts. Instead, the “kiss” allows the author to vaguely evaluate the relevancy of architecture to art and its ability to interact with the senses relative to its context and its audience.
With much of architectural theory happening with short blogs on line or in academic circles, it is nice to have this fresh approach in the form of a well illustrated extended essay that allows us to stop and consider these very important questions.
Kissing Architecture takes a scholarly look at recent projects that use projected
images to evoke a response from the viewer. Fine examples of time-based installations from many of todayʼs leading architects are beautifully presented with colored images. The discussion is evocative but fails to approach the most obvious question: whether architects are creating blank canvases for the artist to complete; nonetheless, by including a discussion on the development of curtain walls and the relationship of interiors to exteriors, the analogy of “the kiss” works quite well.
Through a historical perspective from modernism, post-modernism, to current architectural trends and fads, the author allows us to draw our own conclusions of how architectural facades and spaces should not only reach our senses but make a statement, subtle or boldly, about todayʼs built environment.
Kissing Architecture is the ﬁrst in a series of essays called Point to be edited by
Sarah Whiting at Princeton University Press. Informed, contemporary conversations on architecture presented in this format are sure to engage critics, historians, practitioners, artists as well as the general public.
For the architect long out of school, yet still passionate about the profession, this series of extended essays should be a welcome addition to their reading lists.