Writing And Seeing Architecture

by | 28. Aug 2012



Writing and Seeing Architecture unveils a candid conversation between Christian de Portzamparc, celebrated French architect, and influential theorist Philippe Sollers that challenges us to see the analogous nature of writing and architecture. Their fascinating discussion offers a renewal of visionary architectural thinking by invoking past literary ideals that sought to liberate society through the reinvention of writing itself.

The creative forms of literature and architecture appear to be distinct, one constructing a world on the page, the other producing the world in which we live. It is a conscious act to read literature, but the effects of architecture can pass by unnoticed. Yet, despite such obvious differences, writers and architects share a dynamic with their readers and visitors that is unpredictably similar.

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Adventure of Language, Time, Body.”

P.S. In preparation for today’s discussion I wrote down “CafĂ©,” “Nocturnal,” Apollinaire,” “Emotion,” and also “Planet.”

C.d.P. Planet, Screen, Image – thousand of images. I am thinking of a text you wrote titled “The Erotic Delay,” which ends with the following sentence: “Any image, even the most violent one, is still always a pious image.” We can’t argue with an image. We can’t reason with it. In architecture, more now than ever, we travel with evoking, betraying images that are supposed to represent real places, new and unknown buildings, and give the effect of reality that is out of sync and fake. This is unavoidable. Our world has grown; we cannot go and see what has been done everywhere. Things, places are known through images; they are the ones circulating. More and more we are producing illusional virtual images close to reality but showing buildings that don’t exist or don’t exist yet. In fact, it is only when we are in the place itself that we can experience the truth of the space. But the image nowadays is worth more than the real. It points it out; it chooses it; it claims to be reality’s spirit. In contrast to a text, we can’t reason with an image; it either catches our attention or not.

A small book, with no images, that caught our attention. We highly recommend keeping it in your pocket.