Architecture is a Verb outlines an approach that shifts the fundamental premises of architectural design and practice in several important ways. First, it acknowledges the centrality of the human organism as an active participant interdependent in its environment. Second, it understands human action in terms of radical embodiment—grounding the range of human activities traditionally attributed to mind and cognition: imagining, thinking, remembering—in the body. Third, it asks what a building does—that is, extends the performative functional interpretation of design to interrogate how buildings move and in turn move us, how they shape thought and action. Finally, it is committed to articulating concrete situations by developing a taxonomy of human/building interactions.
Written in engaging prose for students of architecture, interiors and urban design, as well as practicing professionals, Sarah Robinson offers richly illustrated practical examples for a new generation of designers.
Table of Contents
1. Situated Poetics 2. From Vitruvius to the Resonant Body 3. Extended Organisms—Surrogate Bodies 4. Questioning Perception 5. Constructing Consciousness 6. Taxonomy of Interactions 7. The Primacy of Breathing: Breathing - Resisting - Touching 8. Homo Faber: Resonating - Dancing - Making 9. Collective Dreaming: Imagining - Remembering - Storytelling 10. This Rebellious Field: Abstracting - Framing - Thinking 11. The Soil of the Sensible: Inhabiting - Playing - Healing 12. Fields of Care Appendix: Chart of the Taxonomy of Interactions
Sarah Robinson is an architect practising in San Francisco and Pavia, Italy. She holds degrees in philosophy and architecture, and was the founding chair of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture Board of Trustees. Her previous books—Mind in Architecture: Embodiment, Neuroscience and the Future of Design with Juhani Pallasmaa (2015) and Nesting: Body, Dwelling, Mind (2011)—have been among the first to explore the connections between the cognitive sciences and architecture. She co-founded and edits the journal Intertwining, is an adjunct professor at Aalborg University, Denmark and teaches at NAAD / IUAV University of Venice.
A veritable encyclopedia of ideas, all pressing toward one sage insight: good design—far from being an act of technocratic rationality—resides in the poetic, festive, and cultural interplay between self and other, or better, the art of exploring the depth of our visceral engagement with the world. All else is inhumanity.
—Harry Francis Mallgrave, Emeritus Director of Architectural and Theory program at Illinois Institute of Technology and the author of The Architect’s Brain, Architecture and Embodiment and From Object to Experience, among other books.
Robinson’s clear prose brings hope—stitching together insights from philosophy, existential phenomenology, the cognitive sciences, ethology, psychology, anthropology, architectural and literary history, to shed light on possibilities that are open to designers and architects in our complex world. . . in an intellectual poetics meant to evoke, resonate and make you think.
—Alberto Pérez Gómez, Director of the History and Architecture Program at McGill University and author of Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science, Built Upon Love and Attunement, among other books.
Architecture has been incessantly theorized, taught and practiced merely as an art of aestheticised material structures and space. Sarah Robinson presents architecture convincingly and inspiringly as a network of relationships, actions and interactions; buildings reveal, structure and articulate our encounters and relations with the world. Through deftly weaving knowledge from diverse disciplines ranging from philosophy to psychology, anthropology to neuroscience and history to poetics—this book opens up comprehensive and balanced but truly radical views of the complex phenomenon of architecture. The reader will surely encounter and experience buildings differently after having read this significant book.
—Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect, Professor emeritus (Aalto University), Writer, Member of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury, 2008-2014