Book-worlds and ordering systems as sites of invention

Lueder, Christoph (2019) Book-worlds and ordering systems as sites of invention. In: Psarra, Sophia, (ed.) The production sites of architecture. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 89-109. ISBN 9781138559431


The making and structuring of books provides an alternative site of invention and knowledge production to architects, alongside practice and theory. The book-worlds examined here - S,M,L,XL, by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, foa’s ark, by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi, and 49 Cities, by Amale Andraos and Dan Wood (Figure 1) - depart from the model of the practice monograph by constructing book-contexts within which they re-situate architectural, or utopian urban projects. Their constitutive devices, namely lists (S,M,L,XL), taxonomy (foa’s ark), and typology (49 Cities), are used as instruments of cosmography, that is, as devices that organize representations of the world and articulate world-views. At the same time, they constitute instruments of cosmopoïesis, that is, inventions of new worlds that are created within the books. Each of the three books uses classification to construct new contexts, which place architectural or urban utopian projects in new relationships, through juxtaposition (S,M,L,XL), through a taxonomical tree that diagrams evolution (foa’s ark), or a typological matrix that correlates data (49 Cities). The three books adapt systems of classification to produce new meaning and associate their subject matter with new interpretations and implications.

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